- Long term outcome of high-risk neuroblastoma patients after immunotherapy with antibody ch14.18 or oral metronomic chemotherapy (2011)
- Background: The treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma patients consists of multimodal induction therapy to achieve remission followed by consolidation therapy to prevent relapses. However, the type of consolidation therapy is still discussed controversial. We applied metronomic chemotherapy in the prospective NB90 trial and monoclonal anti-GD2-antibody (MAB) ch14.18 in the NB97 trial. Here, we present the long term outcome data of the patient cohort. Methods: A total of 334 stage 4 neuroblastoma patients one year or older were included. All patients successfully completed the induction therapy. In the NB90 trial, 99 patients received at least one cycle of the oral maintenance chemotherapy (NB90 MT, 12 alternating cycles of oral melphalan/etoposide and vincristine/cyclophosphamide). In the NB97 trial, 166 patients commenced the MAB ch14.18 consolidation therapy (six cycles over 12 months). Patients who received no maintenance therapy according to the NB90 protocol or by refusal in NB97 (n = 69) served as controls. Results: The median observation time was 11.11 years. The nine-year event-free survival rates were 41 ± 4%, 31 ± 5%, and 32 ± 6% for MAB ch14.18, NB90 MT, and no consolidation, respectively (p = 0.098). In contrast to earlier reports, MAB ch14.18 treatment improved the long-term outcome compared to no additional therapy (p = 0.038). The overall survival was better in the MAB ch14.18-treated group (9-y-OS 46 ± 4%) compared to NB90 MT (34 ± 5%, p = 0.026) and to no consolidation (35 ± 6%, p = 0.019). Multivariable Cox regression analysis revealed ch14.18 consolidation to improve outcome compared to no consolidation, however, no difference between NB90 MT and MAB ch14.18-treated patients was found. Conclusions: Follow-up analysis of the patient cohort indicated that immunotherapy with MAB ch14.18 may prevent late relapses. Finally, metronomic oral maintenance chemotherapy also appeared effective.
- Cytotoxic capacity of IL-15-stimulated cytokine-induced killer cells against human acute myeloid leukemia and rhabdomyosarcoma in humanized preclinical mouse models (2012)
- Allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) has become an important treatment modality for patients with high-risk acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and is also under investigation for soft tissue sarcomas. The therapeutic success is still limited by minimal residual disease (MRD) status ultimately leading to patients’ relapse. Adoptive donor lymphocyte infusions based on MRD status using IL-15-expanded cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells may prevent relapse without causing graft-versus-host-disease (GvHD). To generate preclinical data we developed mouse models to study anti-leukemic- and anti-tumor-potential of CIK cells in vivo. Immunodeficient mice (NOD/SCID/IL-2Rγc−, NSG) were injected intravenously with human leukemic cell lines THP-1, SH-2 and with human rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) cell lines RH41 and RH30 at minimal doses required for leukemia or tumor engraftment. Mice transplanted with THP-1 or RH41 cells were randomly assigned for analysis of CIK cell treatment. Organs of mice were analyzed by flow cytometry as well as quantitative polymerase chain reaction for engraftment of malignant cells and CIK cells. Potential of CIK cells to induce GvHD was determined by histological analysis. Tissues of the highest degree of THP-1 cell expansion included bone marrow followed by liver, lung, spleen, peripheral blood (PB), and brain. RH30 and RH41 engraftment mainly took place in liver and lung, but was also detectable in spleen and PB. In spite of delayed CIK cell expansion compared with malignant cells, CIK cells injected at equal amounts were sufficient for significant reduction of RH41 cells, whereas against fast-expanding THP-1 cells 250 times more CIK than THP-1 cells were needed to achieve comparable results. Our preclinical in vivo mouse models showed a reliable 100% engraftment of malignant cells which is essential for analysis of anti-cancer therapy. Furthermore our data demonstrated that IL-15-activated CIK cells have potent cytotoxic capacity against AML and RMS cells without causing GvHD.
- The MLL recombinome of acute leukemias in 2013 (2013)
- Chromosomal rearrangements of the human MLL (mixed lineage leukemia) gene are associated with high-risk infant, pediatric, adult and therapy-induced acute leukemias. We used long-distance inverse-polymerase chain reaction to characterize the chromosomal rearrangement of individual acute leukemia patients. We present data of the molecular characterization of 1590 MLL-rearranged biopsy samples obtained from acute leukemia patients. The precise localization of genomic breakpoints within the MLL gene and the involved translocation partner genes (TPGs) were determined and novel TPGs identified. All patients were classified according to their gender (852 females and 745 males), age at diagnosis (558 infant, 416 pediatric and 616 adult leukemia patients) and other clinical criteria. Combined data of our study and recently published data revealed a total of 121 different MLL rearrangements, of which 79 TPGs are now characterized at the molecular level. However, only seven rearrangements seem to be predominantly associated with illegitimate recombinations of the MLL gene (≈ 90%): AFF1/AF4, MLLT3/AF9, MLLT1/ENL, MLLT10/AF10, ELL, partial tandem duplications (MLL PTDs) and MLLT4/AF6, respectively. The MLL breakpoint distributions for all clinical relevant subtypes (gender, disease type, age at diagnosis, reciprocal, complex and therapy-induced translocations) are presented. Finally, we present the extending network of reciprocal MLL fusions deriving from complex rearrangements.
- Immunotherapy of invasive fungal infection in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients (2013)
- Despite the availability of new antifungal compounds, invasive fungal infection remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in children and adults undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Allogeneic HSCT recipients suffer from a long lasting defect of different arms of the immune system, which increases the risk for and deteriorates the prognosis of invasive fungal infections. In turn, advances in understanding these immune deficits have resulted in promising strategies to enhance or restore critical immune functions in allogeneic HSCT recipients. Potential approaches include the administration of granulocytes, since neutropenia is the single most important risk factor for invasive fungal infection, and preliminary clinical results suggest a benefit of adoptively transferred donor-derived antifungal T cells. In vitro data and animal studies demonstrate an antifungal effect of natural killer cells, but clinical data are lacking to date. This review summarizes and critically discusses the available data of immunotherapeutic strategies in allogeneic HSCT recipients suffering from invasive fungal infection.
- Efficient lysis of rhabdomyosarcoma cells by cytokine-induced killer cells : implications for adoptive immunotherapy after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (2010)
- Background: Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in childhood and has a poor prognosis. Here we assessed the capability of ex vivo expanded cytokine-induced killer cells to lyse both alveolar and embryonic rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines and investigated the mechanisms involved. Design and Methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from six healthy donors were used to generate and expand cytokine-induced killer cells. The phenotype and composition of these cells were determined by multiparameter flow cytometry, while their cytotoxic effect against rhabdomyosarcoma cells was evaluated by a europium release assay. Results: Cytokine-induced killer cells efficiently lysed cells from both rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines. Antibody-mediated masking of either NKG2D molecule on cytokine-induced killer cells or its ligands on rhabdomyosarcoma cells (major histocompatibility antigen related chain A and B and UL16 binding protein 2) diminished this effect by 50%, suggesting a major role for the NKG2D molecule in rhabdomyosarcoma cell killing. No effect was observed after blocking CD11a, CD3 or TCRαβ molecules on cytokine-induced killer cells or CD1d on rhabdomyosar-coma cells. Remarkably, cytokine-induced killer cells used tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) to activate caspase-3, as the main caspase responsible for the execution of apoptosis. Accordingly, blocking TRAIL receptors on embryonic rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines significantly reduced the anti-tumor effect of cytokine-induced killer cells. About 50% of T cells within the cytokine-induced killer population had an effector memory phenotype, 20% had a naïve phenotype and approximately 30% of the cells had a central memory phenotype. In addition, cytokine-induced killer cells expressed low levels of activation-induced markers CD69 and CD137 and demonstrated a low alloreactive potential. Conclusions: Our data suggest that cytokine-induced killer cells may be used as a novel adoptive immunotherapy for the treatment of patients with rhabdomyosarcoma after allogeneic stem cell transplantation.
- Stammzelltransplantation bei Kindern : auch Eltern sind mögliche Spender (2003)
- Heute erkranken in Deutschland etwa 750 Kinder und Jugendliche Jahr für Jahr an Leukämien und anderen bösartigen Bluterkrankungen, davon rund 600 an einer Akuten Lymphatischen Leukämie (ALL) und 150 an einer Akuten Myeloischen Leukämie (AML). Seit der Einführung moderner Chemotherapieprotokolle im Jahr 1970 ist aus dieser einst tödlichen eine jetzt heilbare Erkrankung geworden. Allerdings erleiden immer noch zirka 20 Prozent der Kinder mit einer ALL einen Rückfall. Die meisten der Kinder benötigen eine Stammzelltransplantation. In Deutschland sind dies pro Jahr etwa 100; in Frankfurt werden im Jahr gegenwärtig 20 Patienten mit Stammzelltransplantationen behandelt, davon rund 55 Prozent mit akuten Leukämien. Eine Stammzell-transplantation kostet bei Kindern gegenwärtig etwa 120000 Euro.
- Children with relapsed or refractory nephroblastoma: favorable long-term survival after high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (2014)
- Background: High-dose chemotherapy (HDC) with autologous stem-cell rescue (ASCR) is a treatment option for pediatric patients with relapsed nephroblastoma. We present long term results of 9 patients treated between 1993 and 2013 at our center. Procedure: Reinduction therapy was carried out according to GPOH and SIOP recommendations. The conditioning regimen consisted of carboplatin (1 200 mg/m²), etoposide (800 mg/m² or 40 mg/kg) and melphalan (180 mg/m²). Purging of the grafts with immunomagnetic CD34 positive selection was performed in 5 patients. Results: 8 of 9 Patients (90%) are alive without evidence of disease after a median follow-up of 8.5 years. Leukocyte engraftment occurred after a median of 10 days (range 8-12). Median numbers of 667/µl CD3+, 329/µl CD4+, 369/µl CD8+T cells and 949/µl B cells were reached after 180 days. No negative impact of CD34 selection was observed. No transplantation-related death occurred. Acute toxicity comprised mucositis III°-IV° in all and veno-occlusive disease in one patient. Long term effects probably related to treatment occurred in 3/7 evaluable patients and comprised hearing impairment, reduced renal phosphate reabsorption, mild creatinine elevation and hypothyroidism (n=1, each). Conclusion: Thus, in our experience HDC with ASCR is an effective treatment of recurrent or refractory nephroblastoma with acceptable side effects. However, a randomized trial proving its efficiency with a high level of evidence is needed.
- IL-2 stimulated but not unstimulated NK cells induce selective disappearance of peripheral blood cells: concomitant results to a phase I/II study (2011)
- In an ongoing clinical phase I/II study, 16 pediatric patients suffering from high risk leukemia/tumors received highly purified donor natural killer (NK) cell immunotherapy (NK-DLI) at day (+3) +40 and +100 post haploidentical stem cell transplantation. However, literature about the influence of NK-DLI on recipient's immune system is scarce. Here we present concomitant results of a noninvasive in vivo monitoring approach of recipient's peripheral blood (PB) cells after transfer of either unstimulated (NK-DLI(unstim)) or IL-2 (1000 U/ml, 9–14 days) activated NK cells (NK-DLI(IL-2 stim)) along with their ex vivo secreted cytokine/chemokines. We performed phenotypical and functional characterizations of the NK-DLIs, detailed flow cytometric analyses of various PB cells and comprehensive cytokine/chemokine arrays before and after NK-DLI. Patients of both groups were comparable with regard to remission status, immune reconstitution, donor chimerism, KIR mismatching, stem cell and NK-DLI dose. Only after NK-DLI(IL-2 stim) was a rapid, almost complete loss of CD56(bright)CD16(dim/−) immune regulatory and CD56(dim)CD16(+) cytotoxic NK cells, monocytes, dendritic cells and eosinophils from PB circulation seen 10 min after infusion, while neutrophils significantly increased. The reduction of NK cells was due to both, a decrease in patients' own CD69(−) NCR(low)CD62L(+) NK cells as well as to a diminishing of the transferred cells from the NK-DLI(IL-2 stim) with the CD56(bright)CD16(+/−)CD69(+)NCR(high)CD62L(−) phenotype. All cell counts recovered within the next 24 h. Transfer of NK-DLI(IL-2 stim) translated into significantly increased levels of various cytokines/chemokines (i.e. IFN-γ, IL-6, MIP-1β) in patients' PB. Those remained stable for at least 1 h, presumably leading to endothelial activation, leukocyte adhesion and/or extravasation. In contrast, NK-DLI(unstim) did not cause any of the observed effects. In conclusion, we assume that the adoptive transfer of NK-DLI(IL-2 stim) under the influence of ex vivo and in vivo secreted cytokines/chemokines may promote NK cell trafficking and therefore might enhance efficacy of immunotherapy.
- Sequential anti-cytomegalovirus response monitoring may allow prediction of cytomegalovirus reactivation after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (2012)
- Background: Reconstitution of cytomegalovirus-specific CD3+CD8+ T cells (CMV-CTLs) after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is necessary to bring cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation under control. However, the parameters determining protective CMV-CTL reconstitution remain unclear to date. Design and Methods: In a prospective tri-center study, CMV-CTL reconstitution was analyzed in the peripheral blood from 278 patients during the year following HSCT using 7 commercially available tetrameric HLA-CMV epitope complexes. All patients included could be monitored with at least CMV-specific tetramer. Results: CMV-CTL reconstitution was detected in 198 patients (71%) after allogeneic HSCT. Most importantly, reconstitution with 1 CMV-CTL per µl blood between day +50 and day +75 post-HSCT discriminated between patients with and without CMV reactivation in the R+/D+ patient group, independent of the CMV-epitope recognized. In addition, CMV-CTLs expanded more daramtaically in patients experiencing only one CMV-reactivation than those without or those with multiple CMV reactivations. Monitoring using at least 2 tetramers was possible in 63% (n = 176) of the patients. The combinations of particular HLA molecules influenced the numbers of CMV-CTLs detected. The highest CMV-CTL count obtained for an individual tetramer also changed over time in 11% of these patients (n = 19) resulting in higher levels of HLA-B*0801 (IE-1) recognizing CMV-CTLs in 14 patients. Conclusions: Our results indicate that 1 CMV-CTL per µl blood between day +50 to +75 marks the beginning of an immune response against CMV in the R+/D+ group. Detection of CMV-CTL expansion thereafter indicates successful resolution of the CMV reactivation. Thus, sequential monitoring of CMV-CTL reconstitution can be used to predict patients at risk for recurrent CMV reactivation.