Recent Submissions

  • Obinutuzumab as consolidation after chemo-immunotherapy: Results of the UK National Cancer Research Institute phase II/III GALACTIC trial

    Kennedy, Ben (2022-08)
    The GA101 (obinutuzumab) monocLonal Antibody as Consolidation Therapy In chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) (GALACTIC) was a seamless phase II/III trial designed to test whether consolidation with obinutuzumab is safe and eradicates minimal residual disease (MRD) and, subsequently, whether this leads to prolonged progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with CLL who have recently responded to chemo-immunotherapy. Patients with a response 3-24 months after chemotherapy were assessed for MRD. MRD-positive patients were randomised to receive consolidation therapy with obinutuzumab or no consolidation. The trial closed after the phase II part due to slow recruitment. In all, 48 patients enrolled of whom 19 were MRD negative and were monitored. Of the 29 MRD-positive patients, 14 were randomised to receive consolidation and 15 to no consolidation. At 6 months after randomisation, 10 and 13 consolidated patients achieved MRD negativity by flow cytometry (sensitivity 10-4 ) in bone marrow and peripheral blood respectively. PFS was significantly better in consolidated patients compared to non-consolidated patients (p = 0.001). No difference was observed in PFS, overall survival or duration of MRD negativity when comparing the 10 MRD-negative patients after consolidation with the 19 MRD-negative patients in the monitoring group. Common adverse events in the consolidation arm were thrombocytopenia, infection, and cough. Only 1% of events were infusion-related reactions. This observation provides further evidence that consolidation to achieve MRD negativity improves outcomes in CLL and that obinutuzumab is well tolerated in patients with low levels of disease.
  • Depth of response and response kinetics of isatuximab plus carfilzomib and dexamethasone in relapsed multiple myeloma

    Garg, Mamta (2022-08)
    The IKEMA study (Randomized, Open Label, Multicenter Study Assessing the Clinical Benefit of Isatuximab Combined With Carfilzomib [Kyprolis®] and Dexamethasone Versus Carfilzomib With Dexamethasone in Patients With Relapse and/or Refractory Multiple Myeloma Previously Treated With 1 to 3 Prior Lines; #NCT03275285) was a randomized, open-label, multicenter phase 3 study investigating isatuximab plus carfilzomib and dexamethasone (Isa-Kd) vs Kd in patients with relapsed multiple myeloma. This subanalysis analyzed the depth of response of Isa-Kd vs Kd. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS); secondary end points included overall response rate, very good partial response or better (≥VGPR) rate, complete response (CR) rate, and minimal residual disease (MRD) negativity rate (assessed in patients with ≥VGPR by next-generation sequencing at a 10-5 sensitivity level). At a median follow-up of 20.7 months, deeper responses were observed in the Isa-Kd arm vs the Kd arm, with ≥VGPR 72.6% vs 56.1% and CR of 39.7% vs 27.6%, respectively. MRD negativity occurred in 53 (29.6%) of 179 patients in the Isa-Kd arm vs 16 (13.0%) of 123 patients in the Kd arm, with 20.1% (Isa-Kd, 36 of 179 patients) vs 10.6% (Kd, 13 of 123 patients) reaching MRD-negative CR status. Achieving MRD negativity resulted in better PFS in both arms. A positive PFS treatment effect was seen with Isa-Kd in both MRD-negative patients (hazard ratio, 0.578; 95% CI, 0.052-6.405) and MRD-positive patients (hazard ratio, 0.670; 95% CI, 0.452-0.993). Exploratory analysis indicates that both current CR and MRD-negative CR rates are underestimated due to M-protein interference (potential adjusted CR rate, 45.8%; potential adjusted MRD-negative CR rate, 24.0%). In conclusion, there was a clinically meaningful improvement in depth of response with Isa-Kd. The CR rate in Isa-Kd was 39.7%. Mass spectrometry suggests that the potential adjusted CR rate could reach an unprecedented 45.8% of patients treated with Isa-Kd.
  • Mast cell activation syndrome and the link with long COVID

    Myers, Bethan (2022-07)
    Mast cells are innate immune cells found in connective tissues throughout the body, most prevalent at tissue-environment interfaces. They possess multiple cell-surface receptors which react to various stimuli and, after activation, release many mediators including histamine, heparin, cytokines, prostaglandins, leukotrienes and proteases. In mast cell activation syndrome, excessive amounts of inflammatory mediators are released in response to triggers such as foods, fragrances, stress, exercise, medications or temperature changes. Diagnostic markers may be difficult to assess because of their rapid degradation; these include urinary N-methyl histamine, urinary prostaglandins D2, DM and F2α and serum tryptase (which is stable) in the UK. Self-management techniques, medications and avoiding triggers may improve quality of life. Treatments include mast cell mediator blockers, mast cell stabilisers and anti-inflammatory agents. 'Long COVID' describes post-COVID-19 syndrome when symptoms persist for more than 12 weeks after initial infection with no alternative diagnosis. Both mast cell activation syndrome and long COVID cause multiple symptoms. It is theorised that COVID-19 infection could lead to exaggeration of existing undiagnosed mast cell activation syndrome, or could activate normal mast cells owing to the persistence of viral particles. Other similarities include the relapse-remission cycle and improvements with similar treatments. Importantly, however, aside from mast cell disorders, long COVID could potentially be attributed to several other conditions.
  • Laboratory methods for monitoring argatroban in heparin-induced thrombocytopenia

    Hopkins, Barbara; Chunara, Zunaid (2022-04)
    Introduction: The Summary of Product Characteristics for the direct thrombin inhibitor argatroban states monitoring should be by activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), with a target range of 1.5-3.0 times the patients' baseline APTT. APTT may be influenced by coagulopathies, lupus anticoagulant and raised FVIII levels. Previous studies have shown sensitivity differences of APTT reagents to argatroban. Some recent publications have favoured the use of anti-IIa methods to determine the plasma drug concentration of argatroban. This study aims to compare the anti-IIa assays: Hemoclot thrombin inhibitor assay (HTI) and Ecarin chromogenic assay (ECA) alongside the APTT. Methods: Residual plasma of 25 samples from 8 patients (3 with COVID-19 and HIT: n = 18, 5 with HIT: n = 7) was tested at two sites: site A: Sysmex CS5100 by HTI and APTT (Actin FS and SynthASil), and also on Stago STA Compact Max: ECA and APTT (CK Prest); and site B: Stago STA R Max 2 by ECA and APTT (Cephascreen). Results: Mean APTT ratio was 1.96 (Actin FS), 1.84 (SynthASil), 1.59 (CK Prest) and 2.48 (Cephascreen). Mean argatroban concentration by HTI was 0.60 µg/mL and by ECA was 0.65 µg/mL (site A) and 0.70 µg/mL (site B). There was a poor correlation to HTI in APTT ratios (range r2 = .0235-0.4181) with stronger correlations between ECA methods to HTI (r2 = .8998 site A, r2 = .8734 site B). Conclusion: This study confirms previous publications on the unsuitability of APTT and expands this by being multisited and included APTT reagents that use mechanical clot detection. Both anti-IIa methods are more suitable.
  • A retrospective real-world study of the current treatment pathways for myelofibrosis in the United Kingdom: the REALISM UK study

    Garg, Mamta (2022-03)
    Background: Myelofibrosis (MF) is a blood cancer associated with splenomegaly, blood count abnormalities, reduced life expectancy and high prevalence of disease-associated symptoms. Current treatment options for MF are diverse, with limited data on management strategies in real-world practice in the United Kingdom. Methods: The REALISM UK study was a multi-center, retrospective, non-interventional study, which documented the early management of patients with MF. The primary endpoint was the time from diagnosis to active treatment. Discussion: Two hundred patients were included (63% [n = 126/200] with primary MF; 37% [n = 74/200] with secondary MF). Symptoms and prognostic scores at diagnosis were poorly documented, with infrequent use of patient reported outcome measures. 'Watch and wait' was the first management strategy for 53.5% (n = 107/200) of patients, while the most commonly used active treatments were hydroxycarbamide and ruxolitinib. Only 5% of patients proceeded to allogeneic transplant. The median (IQR) time to first active treatment was 46 days (0-350); patients with higher risk disease were prescribed active treatment sooner. Conclusion: These results provide insight into real-world clinical practice for patients with MF in the United Kingdom. Despite the known high prevalence of disease-associated symptoms in MF, symptoms were poorly documented. Most patients were initially observed or received hydroxycarbamide, and ruxolitinib was used as first-line management strategy in only a minority of patients.
  • A novel RUNX1 exon 3 - 7 deletion causing a familial platelet disorder

    Myers, Bethan (2022-02)
    Familial Platelet Disorder with associated Myeloid Malignancy (FPDMM) is a rare inherited disorder confirmed with the presence of a pathogenic germline RUNX1 variant and is thought to be heavily underdiagnosed. RUNX1 has also been found to be mutated in up to 10% of adult AML cases and other cell malignancies. We performed targeted next-generation sequencing and subsequent MLPA analysis in a kindred with multiple affected individuals with low platelet counts and a bleeding history. We detected a novel heterozygous exon 3-7 large deletion in the RUNX1 gene in all affected family members which is predicted to remove all of the Runt-homology DNA-binding domain and a portion of the Activation domain. Our results show that the combination of targeted NGS and MLPA analysis is an effective way to detect copy number variants (CNVs) which would be missed by conventional sequencing methods. This precise diagnosis offers the possibility of accurate counseling and clinical management in such patients who could go onto develop other cell malignancies.
  • SWATH-MS identification of CXCL7, LBP, TGFβ1 and PDGFRβ as novel biomarkers in human systemic mastocytosis

    Myers, Bethan (2022-03)
    Mastocytosis is a rare myeloproliferative disease, characterised by accumulation of neoplastic mast cells in one or several organs. It presents as cutaneous or systemic. Patients with advanced systemic mastocytosis have a median survival of 3.5 years. The aetiology of mastocytosis is poorly understood, patients present with a broad spectrum of varying clinical symptoms that lack specificity to point clearly to a definitive diagnosis. Discovery of novel blood borne biomarkers would provide a tractable method for rapid identification of mastocytosis and its sub-types. Moving towards this goal, we carried out a clinical biomarker study on blood from twenty individuals (systemic mastocytosis: n = 12, controls: n = 8), which were subjected to global proteome investigation using the novel technology SWATH-MS. This identified several putative biomarkers for systemic mastocytosis. Orthogonal validation of these putative biomarkers was achieved using ELISAs. Utilising this workflow, we identified and validated CXCL7, LBP, TGFβ1 and PDGF receptor-β as novel biomarkers for systemic mastocytosis. We demonstrate that CXCL7 correlates with neutrophil count offering a new insight into the increased prevalence of anaphylaxis in mastocytosis patients. Additionally, demonstrating the utility of SWATH-MS for the discovery of novel biomarkers in the systemic mastocytosis diagnostic sphere.
  • Immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 variants after two and three doses of vaccine in B-cell malignancies: UK PROSECO study

    Ahearne, Matthew (2022-05)
    Patients with hematological malignancies are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes due to compromised immune responses, but the insights of these studies have been compromised due to intrinsic limitations in study design. Here we present the PROSECO prospective observational study ( NCT04858568 ) on 457 patients with lymphoma that received two or three COVID-19 vaccine doses. We show undetectable humoral responses following two vaccine doses in 52% of patients undergoing active anticancer treatment. Moreover, 60% of patients on anti-CD20 therapy had undetectable antibodies following full vaccination within 12 months of receiving their anticancer therapy. However, 70% of individuals with indolent B-cell lymphoma displayed improved antibody responses following booster vaccination. Notably, 63% of all patients displayed antigen-specific T-cell responses, which increased after a third dose irrespective of their cancer treatment status. Our results emphasize the urgency of careful monitoring of COVID-19-specific immune responses to guide vaccination schemes in these vulnerable populations.
  • Implementation of Whole-Body MRI (MY-RADS) within the OPTIMUM/MUKnine multi-centre clinical trial for patients with myeloma

    Rennie, Winston (2022-07)
    Background: Whole-body (WB) MRI, which includes diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and T1-w Dixon, permits sensitive detection of marrow disease in addition to qualitative and quantitative measurements of disease and response to treatment of bone marrow. We report on the first study to embed standardised WB-MRI within a prospective, multi-centre myeloma clinical trial (IMAGIMM trial, sub-study of OPTIMUM/MUKnine) to explore the use of WB-MRI to detect minimal residual disease after treatment. Methods: The standardised MY-RADS WB-MRI protocol was set up on a local 1.5 T scanner. An imaging manual describing the MR protocol, quality assurance/control procedures and data transfer was produced and provided to sites. For non-identical scanners (different vendor or magnet strength), site visits from our physics team were organised to support protocol optimisation. The site qualification process included review of phantom and volunteer data acquired at each site and a teleconference to brief the multidisciplinary team. Image quality of initial patients at each site was assessed. Results: WB-MRI was successfully set up at 12 UK sites involving 3 vendor systems and two field strengths. Four main protocols (1.5 T Siemens, 3 T Siemens, 1.5 T Philips and 3 T GE scanners) were generated. Scanner limitations (hardware and software) and scanning time constraint required protocol modifications for 4 sites. Nevertheless, shared methodology and imaging protocols enabled other centres to obtain images suitable for qualitative and quantitative analysis. Conclusions: Standardised WB-MRI protocols can be implemented and supported in prospective multi-centre clinical trials. Trial registration NCT03188172; registration date 15th June 2017
  • Unexplained peripheral blood eosinophilia with gastrointestinal symptoms

    Wardlaw, Andrew; Myers, Bethan; Rathbone, Barrie; Siddiqui, Salman; Wurm, Peter (2021)
    No abstract available.
  • British Society for Haematology guidelines for the laboratory diagnosis of malaria

    Garg, Mamta (2022)
    The laboratory diagnosis of malaria depends on skilled examination of well-stained thick and thin blood films. Rapid diagnostic tests are a useful supplement and the use of nucleic acid-based testing in diagnostic laboratories should also be considered. These British Society for Haematology guidelines update the 2003 guidelines for malaria diagnosis. Training, quality control, incidental diagnosis, differential diagnosis and reference laboratory referral are considered.
  • Limitations of monitoring disease progression using circulating tumor DNA in lymphoma: an example from primary cutaneous DLBCL leg-type

    Walter, Harriet; Griffin, Yvette; Ahearne, Matthew; Saldanha, Gerald; Dyer, Martin (2022)
    No abstract available.
  • Von Willebrand factor assays in patients with acquired immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura treated with caplacizumab

    Hopkins, Barbara; Mensah, Patrick (2022)
    Acquired immune thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (iTTP) is a rare disease with a poor prognosis if undiagnosed. It is caused by autoantibody production to the von Willebrand factor (VWF) cleaving protease, A disintegrin and metalloproteinase with a thrombospondin type 1 motif, member 13 (ADAMTS13). Caplacizumab, an immunoglobulin directed to the platelet glycoprotein Ibα receptor of VWF, has been reported to induce quicker resolution of iTTP compared to placebo. The laboratory measurement of VWF activity was significantly reduced in clinical trials of caplacizumab. Several VWF assays are available in the UK and this study investigated whether differences in VWF parameters were present in 11 patients diagnosed with iTTP and treated with daily caplacizumab. Chromogenic factor VIII activity, VWF antigen, collagen binding activity, VWF multimers and six VWF activity assays were measured prior to caplacizumab therapy and on several occasions during treatment. VWF antigen and collagen binding activity levels were normal or borderline normal in all patients. Ultra-large molecular weight multimers were present in all patients following treatment. VWF activity assays were normal or reduced during treatment, but this was reagent and patient dependant. In the unusual scenario of a caplacizumab-treated patient requiring measurement of VWF activity, it is important that laboratories understand how their local reagents perform as results cannot be predicted.
  • A case series review of patients with Thrombocytopenia and Absent-Radii syndrome (TARS) and their management during pregnancy

    Halperin, Daniel; Myers, Bethan (2021)
    Bleeding diatheses due to platelet-related disorders can present challenges to treating clinicians, especially in the context of peri- and post-partum patients in the obstetric setting. Thrombocytopenia and Absent-Radii syndrome (TARS) is an inherited disorder characterized by reduced bone marrow platelet production, skeletal deformities affecting radii and other limbs; cardiac, renal, and other heterogeneous anomalies may occur. It is caused by the co-inheritance of a microdeletion and a nucleotide polymorphism in the RBM8A gene on chromosome 1. Bleeding phenotype is more severe than platelet numbers which might predict especially in infants but improves with age. There is minimal literature regarding the impact of pregnancy and puerperium. We describe the management of three pregnancies in the hematology-obstetrics clinic. As platelet counts normally decrease through pregnancy, close monitoring is required in TARS. No major bleeding was seen antenatally but two required platelet transfusions during labor. No other treatment definitely improves bleeding, although case reports of steroids claim variable success. Tranexamic acid may be helpful, and thrombopoietin agonists represent a potential future option.
  • Inguinal endometriosis: a systematic review

    Salta, Styliani (2022)
    Inguinal endometriosis is a very rare entity with uncertain pathophysiology, that poses several diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. This study aimed to summarize published literature on the diagnosis and treatment of this condition. Thus, a systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus and the Cochrane Library. An effort was made to numerically analyze all parameters included in case reports and retrospective analyses, as well. The typical and atypical features of this condition, investigations used, type of treatment and histopathology were recorded. More specifications about the surgical treatment, such as operations previously performed, type of surgery and treatment after surgery have been acknowledged. Other sites of endometriosis, the presence of pelvic endometriosis and the follow-up and recurrence have been also documented. Overall, the search yielded 61 eligible studies including 133 cases of inguinal endometriosis. The typical clinical presentation includes a unilateral inguinal mass, with or without catamenial pain. Transabdominal or transvaginal ultrasound was typically used as the first line method of diagnosis. Groin incision and exploratory surgery was the treatment indicated by the majority of the authors, while excision of part of the round ligament was reported in about half of the cases. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy were initiated in cases of coexisting endometriosis-related neoplasia. Inguinal recurrence or malignant transformation was rarely reported. The treatment of inguinal endometriosis is surgical and a long-term follow-up is needed. More research is needed on the effectiveness of suppressive hormonal therapy, recurrence rate and its relationship with endometriosis-associated malignancies.
  • Guideline for the first-line management of Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma - A British Society for Haematology guideline

    Bhuller, Kaljit (2022)
    This guideline was compiled according to the British Society for Haematology (BSH) process at BSH Guidelines Process 2016 ( The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) nomenclature was used to evaluate levels of evidence and to assess the strength of recommendations. The GRADE criteria can be found at Recommendations are based on a review of the literature using Medline, PubMed/Medline and Cochrane searches beginning from 2013 up to January 2021. The following search terms were used: [Hodgkin lymphoma OR Hodgkin disease] NOT non-Hodgkin; AND [chemotherapy OR radiotherapy]; AND [elderly]; AND [teenage OR adolescent OR young adult]; AND [pregnancy]. Filters were applied to include only publications written in English, studies carried out in humans, clinical conferences, congresses, clinical trials, clinical studies, meta-analyses, multicentre studies and randomised controlled trials. References pre-2013 were taken from the previous version of this guideline.1 Review of the manuscript was performed by the British Society for Haematology (BSH) Guidelines Committee Haematology Oncology Taskforce, the BSH Guidelines Committee and the Haematology Oncology sounding board of BSH.
  • Daratumumab plus bortezomib, melphalan, and prednisone versus bortezomib, melphalan, and prednisone in transplant-ineligible newly diagnosed multiple myeloma: frailty subgroup analysis of ALCYONE

    Garg, Mamta (2021)
    Background: In the phase 3 ALCYONE study, daratumumab plus bortezomib/melphalan/prednisone (D-VMP) versus bortezomib/melphalan/prednisone (VMP) significantly improved progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in transplant-ineligible, newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (NDMM) patients. We present a subgroup analysis of ALCYONE by patient frailty status. Patients and methods: Frailty assessment was performed retrospectively using age, Charlson comorbidity index, and baseline Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status score. Patients were classified as fit (0), intermediate (1), or frail (≥2); a nonfrail category combined fit and intermediate patients. Results: Among randomized patients (D-VMP, n = 350; VMP, n = 356), 391 (55.4%) were nonfrail (D-VMP, 187 [53.4%]; VMP, 204 [57.3%]) and 315 (44.6%) were frail (163 [46.6%]; 152 [42.7%]). After 40.1-months median follow-up, nonfrail patients had longer PFS and OS than frail patients, but benefits of D-VMP versus VMP were maintained across subgroups: PFS nonfrail (median, 45.7 vs. 19.1 months; hazard ratio [HR], 0.36; P < .0001), frail (32.9 vs. 19.5 months; HR, 0.51; P < .0001); OS nonfrail (36-month rate, 83.6% vs. 74.5%), frail (71.4% vs. 59.0%). Improved greater than or equal to complete response and minimal residual disease (10-5)-negativity rates were observed for D-VMP versus VMP across subgroups. The 2 most common grade 3/4 treatment-emergent adverse events were neutropenia (nonfrail: 39.2% [D-VMP] and 42.4% [VMP]; frail: 41.3% and 34.4%) and thrombocytopenia (nonfrail: 32.8% and 36.9%; frail: 36.9% and 39.1%). Conclusion: Our findings support the clinical benefit of D-VMP in transplant-ineligible NDMM patients enrolled in ALCYONE, regardless of frailty status. Trial registration: NCT02195479.

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