Recently, there has been an increasing drive to consider the cost effectiveness of healthcare. Since clinical trials usually examine disease-free survival without considering overall survival, it is difficult to determine which treatment is cost effective. At present, the overall survival time is estimated using a Markov model, and the quality-adjusted life year (QALY) is calculated by taking into account the quality and quantity of life lived. In Japan, the cost required to obtain 1 QALY is expected to be around 5 million yen, and drug prices are being influenced by policy. Indubitably, this type of health economics also has limitations and is not equal for everyone. Thus, collaboration is necessary to discuss better and more efficient medical care. It is hoped that this review of two diseases of hematopoietic malignancy will enhance our understanding of health economics.
We report a case of a 16-year-old woman who achieved her third complete remission of acute lymphoblastic leukemia after undergoing allogeneic stem cell transplantation for the second time from an unrelated donor. On post-transplantation day 30, she showed weight gain, hepatomegaly, right hypochondriac pain, and ascites. On day 35, ultrasonography (US) revealed portal vein regurgitation. She was subsequently diagnosed with late-onset sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (SOS) and was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) on day 36 for multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) and disseminated intravascular coagulation, requiring mechanical ventilation. Her SOS was graded as very severe upon ICU admission. Recombinant human soluble thrombomodulin (380 U/kg/day) and methylprednisolone (2 mg/kg/day) therapies were initiated. Additionally, her intra-abdominal pressure had increased to 19 mmHg, which was thought to be the cause of MODS. Ascites drainage (1,000 ml/day), according to the treatment for abdominal compartment syndrome, improved her SOS and MODS. She was weaned from mechanical ventilation on the 10th day after ICU transfer, and US showed resolution of the portal vein regurgitation. She was transferred to the general ward on the 14th day. She had not experienced disease recurrence at her last visit (527 days after the second transplantation).
A 58-year-old man was admitted with shortness of breath in September 2019. He had a severe hemolytic anemia with a high cold agglutinin (CA) titer. He also had arthralgia and finger deformation. He was diagnosed with cold agglutinin syndrome (CAS) secondary to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) based on the clinical course. Occasionally, CAS has been reported to occur in parallel with collagen disease, infectious disease, or malignant tumor. CAS developing secondary to collagen disease occurs less frequently than that to infectious disease or malignant tumors. Furthermore, CAS caused by RA is very rare, even among patients with collagen diseases. Our patient was effectively treated with immunosuppressive therapy including abatacept, which attenuated the symptoms of CAS and RA.
A 56-year-old woman was referred to our hospital with symptoms of swelling, purpura, and pain in her limbs. Prior to referral, bleeding in her limbs had spontaneously appeared and disappeared several times. Prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) were prolonged, and the factor II level was 17%. The plasma-mixing test indicated lupus anticoagulant (LA), which was confirmed using aPTT-LA and dilute Russell's viper venom time (dRVVT). Therefore, she was diagnosed with lupus anticoagulant-hypoprothrombinemia syndrome (LAHPS). During screening for underlying disorders, chest computed tomography (CT) revealed a retrosternal mass. Biopsy was not performed because the administration of freshly frozen plasma failed to correct her coagulopathy. Prednisolone (PSL) treatment (1 mg/kg) was initiated, which normalized the coagulation tests. The retrosternal mass also disappeared. PSL was tapered without LAHPS recurrence; however, the follow-up CT revealed systemic lymphadenopathy. Follicular lymphoma was diagnosed using lymph-node biopsy. Considering the subsequent LAHPS recurrence, six cycles of bendamustine + rituximab were administered. Complete response with no LAHPS recurrence was observed at the time of drafting this report. LAHPS is rare and distinct from antiphospholipid syndrome because it can cause severe bleeding. Underlying disorders should be evaluated in cases of LAHPS.
A 72-year-old man with ileocecal lymphadenopathy was found to have Epstein-Barr virus-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma using open biopsy, and an ileostoma was created. R-CHOP-like chemotherapy was initiated, but his malnutrition did not improve. After 3 cycles of chemotherapy, a 2-m-long Cestoda was removed from the stoma and was identified as Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense using mitochondria cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 targeted polymerase chain reaction analysis. Although D. nihonkaiense infections are asymptomatic, the ileostomy was thought to have exacerbated the malabsorption in this patient. Parasitic infections are rare; however, they should be added to the differential diagnosis of malnutrition of unknown cause during chemotherapy for hematological malignancies.
Iron is essential to maintain cellular homeostasis, such as hemoglobin synthesis, mitochondrial respiratory chain formation, DNA replication, DNA demethylation, and histone demethylation. In addition, iron acts as a catalyst to produce reactive oxygen species, including hydroxyl radicals, which induce 8-OHdG production and DNA double strand breaks. Hence, the total body iron level should be strictly regulated. Recently, hepatic hepcidin was found to inhibit iron absorption from the gastrointestinal tract, and hepcidin production is reduced by erythroid factors, such as growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) and erythroferrone. Systemic iron kinetics seem to be regulated by cooperation among the liver, gastrointestinal tract, and hematopoietic tissues. However, this cooperation could be disturbed in bone marrow failure syndrome (BMFS). In some anemic disorders, such as β-thalassemia, and some categories of MDS, GDF15 or erythroferrone were overproduced and promoted iron absorption. Frequent blood transfusions rapidly increase iron accumulation in the body and eventually result in irreversible organ damage, such as heart failure. Therefore, the introduction of an early intervention to improve iron overload in BMFS is necessary. In recent years, oral chelators have been introduced for clinical use. Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents and thrombopoietin receptor agonists could also improve refractory anemia or BMFS and improve iron overload.
Anemia remains an important complication of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Relative erythropoietin deficiency was assumed to be the main cause of anemia in CKD. In contrast, it is possible that iron dysregulation for erythropoiesis in CKD patients also affects not only anemia but also cardiovascular event or survival of these patients. A prospective observational study was conducted for 3 years on 1,000 maintenance hemodialysis patients. In time-dependent cox hazard analysis, we found the higher risks of cardiovascular disease (HR: 4.45, p<0.001) and all-cause mortality (HR: 5.8, p< 0.001) in patients with low transferrin saturation (TSAT) (<20%) and high ferritin levels (≥100 ng/ml) who are suspected to have iron dysregulation for erythropoiesis compared with patients with high TSAT and low ferritin level. From these results, we hypothesized that iron dysregulation in CKD patients is closely associated with various complications and survival. Moreover, iron administration should be approached with caution in patients who present with iron dysregulation for erythropoiesis.
Ring sideroblasts show abnormal mitochondrial iron accumulation, and their emergence in the bone marrow is a characteristic of sideroblastic anemias (SAs). SAs are a group of heterogeneous congenital and acquired disorders. Congenital SA is a rare disease caused by gene mutations involved in heme biosynthesis, iron-sulfur cluster biosynthesis, and mitochondrial protein synthesis. SAs can also occur after exposure to certain drugs or alcohol and due to copper deficiency (secondary SA). Furthermore, SAs are associated with myelodysplastic syndrome (idiopathic SA), strongly correlating with specific somatic mutations in splicing factor 3b subunit 1 (SF3B1), which is involved in the RNA splicing machinery. Recent reports have indicated that common defects in iron/heme metabolism underlie in the mechanisms of ring sideroblast formation in congenital and acquired SAs. Current understanding of SA pathophysiology, including the mechanisms of ring sideroblast formation, is discussed in this review.
Acquired coagulation inhibitors have become a popular area of research because they cause severe bleeding tendency in many patients. The use of acquired coagulation inhibitors requires rapid and precise diagnosis. Some acquired coagulation inhibitors show prolongation in the activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) and/or prothrombin time (PT). To diagnose these disorders, mixing test is very useful. However, lupus anticoagulant related disorders, such as lupus anticoagulant hypoprothrombinemia syndrome (LAHPS), are difficult to diagnose because they are sometimes associated with a reduction in factor VIII and are thus difficult to distinguish from acquired hemophilia. Acquired factor XIII deficiency and acquired von Willebrand syndrome (AvWS) are easily overlooked because they show normal value in several patients with APTT and PT. Here I describe the diagnostic method for these disorders. In particular, five acquired coagulation inhibitors that appear to be clinically significant are studied.
Acquired hemophilia A (AHA) is a bleeding disorder due to the autoantibody (inhibitor) production targeting blood coagulation factor VIII. It is characterized by a sudden onset, and it often causes extensive and severe bleeding in soft tissue. The incidence of AHA is 1.48 cases per 1 million individuals per year and is common among postpartum women and elderly with underlying diseases. The risk factors include autoimmune diseases, malignancy, and aging. The diagnosis requires exclusion of other diseases with activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) prolongation and an APTT cross-mixing test during early differential diagnosis. The treatment of AHA is immunosuppressive therapy to reduce the inhibitors. In case of bleeding that requires hemostasis, hemostatic therapy with bypass agents should be administered. The first-line immunosuppressive therapy is prednisolone (1 mg/kg/day) alone or in combination with cyclophosphamide (1-2 mg/kg/day). Recently, the effect of a rituximab-based-regimen has also been utilized.
Since acquired factor V inhibitor (FV-INH) has been first reported in Germany in 1955, about 200 cases have been recorded globally. The incidence of FV-INH is extremely low, with a rate of 0.023-0.09 per million persons per year. FV-INH formation is caused by infection, use of antibiotics and other drugs, surgery, and diseases, including malignancy and autoimmune disorder. Some patients with FV-INH present with abnormal clinical laboratory test results but have no hemorrhagic symptoms. Others experience life-threatening bleeding. Moreover, thrombosis can sometimes occur. The diagnosis is based on prolonged prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), an inhibitor pattern shown by a cross-mixing test of PT and APTT, decreased factor V activity, and detection of FV-INH. Treatment includes hemostatic and immunosuppressive therapy. However, in some cases, the monitoring of progression alone is appropriate. In terms of hemostatic therapies, infusion of platelet concentrates and administration of recombinant factor VIIa are highly useful. However, no definitive treatment strategy has been established. In about 50% of cases, FV-INH is eliminated spontaneously. Therefore, immunosuppressive therapy is recommended only for hemorrhagic patients or those at high risk of hemorrhage. Prednisolone is generally used for the management of immunosuppression. However, some reports have shown that the administration of rituximab, cyclophosphamide, and intravenous immunoglobulin and plasma-exchange can be utilized as treatments.
Coagulation factor XIII/13 (FXIII) is a transglutaminase that cross-links fibrin monomers, provides clot stabilization and resistance to fibrinolysis and proteolysis, and ultimately contributes to hemostasis and wound healing. FXIII is a hetero-tetramer formed by two catalytic A subunits (FXIII-A) and two noncatalytic B subunits (FXIII-B). Autoimmune acquired factor XIII/13 deficiency secondary to anti-FXIII antibodies (AH13) is a severe bleeding disorder that occurs mainly in the elderly. While AH13 is a very rare disease, with only about 100 cases reported worldwide, more than 60 of these cases have been identified in Japan. AH13 is somewhat difficult to diagnose because the abnormalities are not detected by routine coagulation testing. Anti-FXIII autoantibodies have been sub-classified into three types, including: (1) type Aa autoantibodies that mainly inhibit the thrombin-mediated proteolytic cleavage of FXIII-A, preventing its activation, (2) type Ab autoantibodies that inhibit the enzymatic activity of activated FXIII-A, and (3) type B autoantibodies that bind to and remove noncatalytic FXIII-B subunits from the circulation. We have encountered four cases of AH13 (three of type Aa and one of type B) in the past decade. This review outlines the diagnosis and treatment of AH13, with a focus on recent experience at our hospital.
Von Willebrand disease (VWD) is among the most common inherited bleeding disorders. Interestingly, acquired von Willebrand syndrome (AVWS) is diagnosed much less frequently, but can be identified in association with a substantial number of medical conditions and diseases, including lymphoproliferative (48%), cardiovascular (21%), myeloproliferative (15%), other neoplastic (5%), and autoimmune disorders (2%). Most recently, AVWS has been diagnosed in patients with aortic valve stenosis (AS, 79%) and continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (LVAD, up to 100%).
1) Immune mechanisms mediated reduction of VWF activity
Autoantibodies to VWF have been identified in association with monoclonal gammopathies, lymphoid, neoplasms, and autoimmune diseases. Some autoantibodies have higher affinity to high molecular weight-VWF multimers (HMW-VWFMs); clearance of HMW-VWFMs leads to bleeding.
2) Non-immune mechanisms induced reduction of VWF activity
One of the mechanisms is VWF adsorption onto malignant cells and paraproteins (i.e., as in multiple myeloma) and thereby removed from the blood circulation. VWF-linked proteolysis can be induced by shear stress. According to high levels of shear stress in AS and LVAD, HM-VWFMs are more susceptible to cleavage by ADAMTS13. We will find a large number of AVWS cases related to cardiovascular diseases.
Reports have described the excellent efficacies of new immunotherapeutic strategies, such as monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapies, in multiple myeloma (MM) patients. Signaling lymphocytic activation molecule family (SLAMF) molecules are expressed strongly on normal lymphocytes and plasma cells from MM patients. The anti-SLAMF7 mAb elotuzumab (ELO) has been approved for the treatment of relapsed/refractory MM (RRMM). In MM patients, a high serum soluble SLAMF7 (sSLAMF7) concentration is associated with aggressive clinical characteristics. This suggests a proliferative function of the SLAMF7-sSLAMF7 interaction that could be inhibited by ELO. SLAMF3 is also expressed strongly and constitutively on myeloma cells. We observed the aggressive characteristics of SLAMF3+ MM in vitro and in vivo. SLAMF3 interacts directly with the adaptor proteins SHP2 and GRB2. A gene expression analysis revealed that SLAMF3 transmits positive signals to MM cells via the MAPK/ERK signaling pathway and that sSLAMF3 levels are increased markedly in advanced MM. Thus, SLAMF3 may be a novel immunotherapeutic target in MM. SLAMF2 and SLAMF6 are also expressed strongly on MM cells, and the safety of antibody-drug conjugates that target these molecules in patients with RRMM is currently under study. Our and others' reports demonstrate the value of SLAMF molecules as promising new targets for antimyeloma immunotherapies.
Integrins play an important role in the homing, survival, proliferation, and drug resistance of multiple myeloma (MM) cells in the bone marrow. Among the many integrin families, the integrins α4β1 (VLA-4) and α4β7 have been reported to have important functions in MM cells. Previous studies have also reported that the three-dimensional structure of an integrin changes depending on its activation state; however, the conformations of integrins expressed in MM cells have not been studied so far. We recently observed that integrin α4β7 constitutively adopts an active conformation in MM cells, and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy that targets the activated conformation of integrin β7 is a promising new treatment for MM. We are now clarifying the mechanism for the constitutive activation of integrin β7 in MM and its relationship with the pathology of MM.
Multiple myeloma (MM) is among the most intractable of malignancies and is characterized by uncontrolled growth of malignant plasma cells in the bone marrow (BM). Elucidation of the mechanisms underlying cell adhesion-mediated drug resistance (CAM-DR) may prolong remission and ultimately improve the survival of MM patients. Toward this goal, we identified trimethylation of histone H3 at lysine-27 (H3K27me3) as a critical histone modification associated with CAM-DR. Cell adhesion counteracted drug-induced hypermethylation of H3K27 via inhibiting phosphorylation of enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), and promoted sustained expression of anti-apoptotic genes. In addition, we found that CD180, a non-canonical lipopolysaccharide (LPS) receptor, was markedly up-regulated in response to adherence and/or hypoxic conditions. Bacterial LPS enhanced the growth of MM cells both in vitro and in vivo, correlating with expression of CD180. Promoter analyses identified Ikaros (IKZF1) as a pivotal transcriptional activator of the CD180 gene; expression of CD180 was activated via cell adhesion- and/or hypoxia-mediated increases in IKZF1 expression. Administration of lenalidomide prevented the LPS-triggered activation of MM cells by targeting CD180. Taken together, our results suggest that lenalidomide-mediated prevention of LPS-triggered disease progression may be an effective means for prolonging survival in patients with MM.