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FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) internal tandem duplication (ITD) is a somatic mutation associated with poor outcome when treated with chemotherapy alone. In children, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is recommended, but very limited data on outcome are reported. We determined the outcome of 29 children with FLT3/ITD-positive acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) who underwent allogeneic HSCT in 4 pediatric centers. Eleven patients (38%) received matched related donor hematopoietic stem cells and 18 (62%) received alternative donors. Eighteen patients (62%) received total body irradiation (TBI)-based regimens. No patients experienced transplantation-related mortality. Eleven patients (38%) experienced relapsed disease. The cumulative incidence of relapse at 2 years was 34.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 20.4% to 54.9%). Two-year disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were 65.3% (95% CI, 45.1% to 79.6%) and 82.2% (95% CI, 58.5% to 91.3%), respectively. There was no difference in the DFS of patients who received transplants from related donors versus the DFS of those who received transplants from alternative donors (hazard ratio [HR], 2.64; 95% CI, .79 to 8.76; P = .10), using univariate analysis. Patients with higher FLT3/ITD ratio at diagnosis had significantly worse DFS (HR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.04 to 1.93; P = .03). The use of TBI in the preparative regimen was associated with superior DFS (HR, .29; 95% CI, .08 to .99; P = .04) and OS (HR, .07; 95% CI, .01 to .62; P = .002). We conclude that allogeneic HSCT improves DFS and OS in children with FLT3/ITD-positive AML compared with what has been reported in those treated with chemotherapy alone.
Copyright © 2015 American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Seventy-nine patients with AML in CR1 received allo-SCT between May 2006 and May 2011, and the prognostic impact of FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3/internal tandem duplication (FLT3/ITD) mutation was evaluated in the context of other clinical prognostic factors. Patients with FLT3/ITD + AML had significantly inferior DFS (2-year DFS: 19% vs 64%, P = 0.0027), increased risk of relapse (1-year: 59% vs 19%, P = 0.01), and a trend towards decreased OS (P = 0.08) compared with patients without FLT3/ITD. Multivariate analysis confirmed FLT3/ITD + independently predicted a shorter DFS (HR, 3.0; 95% CI), 1.4-6.5; P = 0.01) and increased risk of relapse (HR, 4.9; 95% CI, 2.0-12.3, P = 0.01). Time to relapse in patients with FLT3/ITD + was short with 100-day cumulative risk of 45% (95% CI, 33-57). Our data suggest that the poor prognostic implication of FLT3/ITD positivity remains even after early allo-SCT in patients with FLT3/ITD + AML, and patients remain at high risk of early relapse. FLT3/ITD positivity also outweighs other conventional prognostic markers in predicting relapse.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) reside in bone marrrow and lymphoid organs in homeostatic conditions and typically secrete abundant quantities of type I interferons (IFNs) on Toll-like receptor triggering. Recently, a pDC population was identified within Peyer patches (PPs) of the gut that is distinguished by its lack of IFN production; however, the relationship of PP pDCs to pDCs in other organs has been unclear. We report that PP pDCs are derived from common DC progenitors and accumulate in response to Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand, yet appear divergent in transcription factor profile and surface marker phenotype, including reduced E2-2 and CCR9 expression. Type I IFN signaling via STAT1 has a cell-autonomous role in accrual of PP pDCs in vivo. Moreover, IFN-α enhances pDC generation from DC progenitors by a STAT1-dependent mechanism. pDCs that have been developed in the presence of IFN-α resemble PP pDCs, produce inflammatory cytokines, stimulate Th17 cell generation, and fail to secrete IFN-α on Toll-like receptor engagement. These results indicate that IFN-α influences the development and function of pDCs by inducing emergence of an inflammatory (Th17-inducing) antigen-presenting subset, and simultaneously regulating accumulation of pDCs in the intestinal microenvironment.
Severely burned patients are susceptible to infections with opportunistic organisms due to altered immune responses and frequent wound contamination. Immunomodulation to enhance systemic and local responses to wound infections may be protective after burn injury. We previously demonstrated that pretreatments with fms-like tyrosine kinase-3 (Flt3) ligand (Flt3L), a dendritic cell growth factor, increase the resistance of mice to a subsequent burn injury and wound infection by a dendritic cell-dependent mechanism. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that Flt3L administration after burn injury decreases susceptibility to wound infections by enhancing global immune cell activation. Mice were treated with Flt3L after burn injury and examined for survival, wound and systemic bacterial clearance, and immune cell activation after wound inoculation with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. To gain insight into the local effects of Flt3L at the burn wound, localization of Langerhans cells was examined. Mice treated with Flt3L had significantly greater numbers of CD25-expressing T cells and CD69-expressing T and B cells, neutrophils, and macrophages after, but not before, infection. Overall leukocyte apoptosis in response to infection was decreased with Flt3L treatment. Survival and local and systemic bacterial clearance were enhanced by Flt3L. Langerhans cells appeared in the dermis of skin bordering the burn wound, and further increased in response to wound infection. Flt3L augmented the appearance of Langerhans cells in response to both injury and infection. These data suggest that dendritic cell enhancement by Flt3L treatments after burn injury protects against opportunistic infections through promotion of local and systemic immune responses to infection.
Loss or mutation of the TP53 tumor suppressor gene is not commonly observed in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), suggesting that there is an alternate route for cell transformation. We investigated the hypothesis that previously observed Bcl-2 family member overexpression suppresses wild-type p53 activity in AML. We demonstrate that wild-type p53 protein is expressed in primary leukemic blasts from patients with de novo AML using 2-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE) and phospho-specific flow cytometry. We found that p53 was heterogeneously expressed and phosphorylated in AML patient samples and could accumulate following DNA damage. Overexpression of antiapoptosis protein Bcl-2 in AML cells was directly correlated with p53 expression and phosphorylation on serine residues 15, 46, and 392. Within those patients with the highest levels of Bcl-2 expression, we identified a mutation in FLT3 that duplicated phosphorylation site Y591. The presence of this mutation correlated with greater than normal Bcl-2 expression and with previously observed profiles of potentiated STAT and MAPK signaling. These results support the hypothesis that Flt3-mediated signaling in AML enables accumulation of Bcl-2 and maintains a downstream block to p53 pathway apoptosis. Bcl-2 inhibition might therefore improve the efficacy of existing AML therapies by inactivating this suppression of wild-type p53 activity.
Fms-like tyrosine kinase-3 ligand (Flt3L) is a hemopoietic cytokine that stimulates the production of dendritic cells. This study evaluated the ability of Flt3L-enhanced dendritic cell production to increase the resistance of mice to a burn wound infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common source of infections in burn patients that have impaired immunity and are susceptible to opportunistic microorganisms. Treatment of mice with Flt3L for 5 days caused a significant increase in dendritic cell numbers in the spleen and significantly increased survival upon a subsequent burn wound infection. Improved survival in Flt3L-treated mice was associated with limited bacterial growth and spread within the burn wounds and a decrease in systemic dissemination of P. aeruginosa. Resistance to burn wound infection could also be conferred to recipient mice by the adoptive transfer of dendritic cells that had been isolated from spleens of Flt3L-treated mice. Adoptive transfer of the same number of splenic dendritic cells from nontreated mice did not confer resistance to burn wound infection. These data indicate that Flt3L can increase the resistance of mice to a P. aeruginosa burn wound infection through both stimulation of dendritic cell production and enhancement of dendritic cell function.
Altered growth factor responses in phospho-protein-driven signaling networks are crucial to cancer cell survival and pathology. Profiles of cancer cell signaling networks might therefore identify mechanisms by which such cells interpret environmental cues for continued growth. Using multiparameter flow cytometry, we monitored phospho-protein responses to environmental cues in acute myeloid leukemia at the single cell level. By exposing cancer cell signaling networks to potentiating inputs, rather than relying upon the basal levels of protein phosphorylation alone, we could discern unique cancer network profiles that correlated with genetics and disease outcome. Strikingly, individual cancers manifested multiple cell subsets with unique network profiles, reflecting cancer heterogeneity at the level of signaling response. The results revealed a dramatic remodeling of signaling networks in cancer cells. Thus, single cell measurements of phospho-protein responses reveal shifts in signaling potential of a phospho-protein network, allowing for categorizing of cell network phenotypes by multidimensional molecular profiles of signaling.
To delineate factors involved in NK cell development, we established an in vitro system in which lineage marker (Lin)-, c-kit+, Sca2+ bone marrow cells differentiate into lytic NK1.1+ but Ly49- cells upon culture in IL-7, stem cell factor (SCF), and flt3 ligand (flt3L), followed by IL-15 alone. A comparison of the ability of IL-7, SCF, and flt3L to generate IL-15-responsive precursors suggested that NK progenitors express the receptor for flt3L. In support of this, when Lin-, c-kit+, flt3+ or Lin-, c-kit+, flt3- progenitors were utilized, 3-fold more NK cells arose from the flt3+ than from the flt3- progenitors. Furthermore, NK cells that arose from flt3- progenitors showed an immature NK1.1dim, CD2-, c-kit+ phenotype as compared with the more mature NK1.1bright, CD2+/-, c-kit- phenotype displayed by NK cells derived from flt3+ progenitors. Both progenitors, however, gave rise to NK cells that were Ly49 negative. To test the hypothesis that additional marrow-derived signals are necessary for Ly49 expression on developing NK cells, flt3+ progenitors were grown in IL-7, SCF, and flt3L followed by culture with IL-15 and a marrow-derived stromal cell line. Expression of Ly49 molecules, including those of which the MHC class I ligands were expressed on the stromal or progenitor cells, as well as others of which the known ligands were absent, was induced within 6-13 days. Thus, we have established an in vitro system in which Ly49 expression on developing NK cells can be analyzed and possibly experimentally manipulated.