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2022
Kwiatkowski, J. L., M. O. N. A. HAMDY, A. El-Beshlawy, F. S. Ebeid, M. Badr, A. Alshehri, J. Kanter, B. Inusa, A. A. M. Adly, S. Williams, et al., "Deferiprone vs deferoxamine for transfusional iron overload in SCD and other anemias: a randomized, open-label noninferiority study.", Blood advances, vol. 6, issue 4, pp. 1243-1254, 2022. Abstract

Many people with sickle cell disease (SCD) or other anemias require chronic blood transfusions, which often causes iron overload that requires chelation therapy. The iron chelator deferiprone is frequently used in individuals with thalassemia syndromes, but data in patients with SCD are limited. This open-label study assessed the efficacy and safety of deferiprone in patients with SCD or other anemias receiving chronic transfusion therapy. A total of 228 patients (mean age: 16.9 [range, 3-59] years; 46.9% female) were randomized to receive either oral deferiprone (n = 152) or subcutaneous deferoxamine (n = 76). The primary endpoint was change from baseline at 12 months in liver iron concentration (LIC), assessed by R2* magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The least squares mean (standard error) change in LIC was -4.04 (0.48) mg/g dry weight for deferiprone vs -4.45 (0.57) mg/g dry weight for deferoxamine, with noninferiority of deferiprone to deferoxamine demonstrated by analysis of covariance (least squares mean difference 0.40 [0.56]; 96.01% confidence interval, -0.76 to 1.57). Noninferiority of deferiprone was also shown for both cardiac T2* MRI and serum ferritin. Rates of overall adverse events (AEs), treatment-related AEs, serious AEs, and AEs leading to withdrawal did not differ significantly between the groups. AEs related to deferiprone treatment included abdominal pain (17.1% of patients), vomiting (14.5%), pyrexia (9.2%), increased alanine transferase (9.2%) and aspartate transferase levels (9.2%), neutropenia (2.6%), and agranulocytosis (0.7%). The efficacy and safety profiles of deferiprone were acceptable and consistent with those seen in patients with transfusion-dependent thalassemia. This trial study was registered at www://clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02041299.

ElBeshlawy, A., A. R. Zekri, M. S. Ramadan, Y. M. M. Selim, A. Abdel-Salam, M. T. Hegazy, L. Ragab, C. Gaggiano, L. Cantarini, and G. Ragab, "Genotype-phenotype associations in familial Mediterranean fever: a study of 500 Egyptian pediatric patients.", Clinical rheumatology, 2022. Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is the most prevalent monogenic autoinflammatory disease, caused by recessively inherited MEFV gene mutations. The most frequent MEFV mutations differ in penetrance and disease severity. We investigated the genotype-phenotype associations of the three most frequent MEFV gene mutations (M680I, M694V, and V726A) in Egyptian FMF children, regarding clinical features, severity, and colchicine response.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of the medical registries of 500 FMF pediatric patients from Metropolitan Cairo between 2010 and 2015. The diagnosis was based on the Tel-Hashomer clinical diagnostic criteria. Clinical data and baseline investigations were collected. Mutation analysis was performed by the amplification-refractory mutation system (ARMS)-PCR method.

RESULTS: Males represented 54% and ages ranged from 2 to 18 years. The most frequent symptoms were abdominal pain, fever, and arthralgia. Clinical features mostly associated with M694V mutation either homozygous or heterozygous whether simple, double, or triple. Of the patients, 94.6% completely responded to colchicine. Among patients benefiting from colchicine, 42.5% had M694V/V726A, 21.6% had M694V/V726A/M680I, and 21.1% had M694V genotype. Simple heterozygous M694V or V726A mutations conveyed a moderate phenotype in 57.1% and 50% of cases, respectively. Homozygous M694V mutation showed moderate and severe phenotypes in 21.7% and 65.2% of cases, respectively. Compound M694V/V726A mutation associated with moderate or severe disease in 48.3% and 33.8% of cases, respectively.

CONCLUSION: This study encompasses the largest group of Egyptian pediatric FMF up to date to explore their genotype-phenotype associations. Our results support the notion that the genotype influences the phenotype as regards clinical manifestations, disease severity, and colchicine response.

KEY POINTS: • This study encompasses the largest group of Egyptian pediatric patients affected by FMF up to date to explore their genotype-phenotype associations. • Our results support the notion that the genotype influences the phenotype as regards the clinical manifestations, the disease severity, and the response to colchicine treatment.

El-Beshlawy, A., F. Rabah, H. M. Hamed, A. A. - S. Mahmoud, H. A. - H. Al-Wakeel, E. M. Abdelhamid, M. M. El-Sonbaty, and M. El Sissy, "Navigating Hemostasis of Bleeding Among Children With β-Thalassemia.", Journal of pediatric hematology/oncology, 2022. Abstract

Bleeding phenotype is reported in β-thalassemia patients. However, the underlying etiology remains elusive. We aimed to assess coagulation profile and the platelet aggregation in β-thalassemia children with bleeding diathesis. Fifty β-thalassemia children with a positive bleeding history were recruited. Bleeding phenotype was explored through full history taking and thorough clinical examination. Complete blood count, prothrombin time, international normalized ratio, and platelets aggregometry were performed for children with negative workup. Mucosal bleeding was manifest among most of our patients (96%). Two-third of patients had decreased aggregation with ristocetin (68%), adenine di-phosphate (64%), and arachidonic acid (64%). While half of the patients (48%) had deficient response to epinephrine. Collagen, ristocetin, and arachidonic acid induced aggregation were negatively correlated to frequency of blood transfusion (P=0.021, r=-0.325; P<0.001, r=-0.465; P=0.018, r=-0.333, respectively). Aggregation to collagen and epinephrine demonstrated a negative correlation with age (P=0.04, r=-0.287; P=0.03, r=-0.315). Deferiprone was associated with a deficient response to ristocetin and collagen when compared with deferasirox or no chelation (P=0.021 and 0.006, respectively). Impaired ristocetin response was linked to hydroxyurea (P=0.035). Platelets function defect should be considered in β-thalassemia patients with bleeding symptoms.

Musallam, K. M., A. Vitrano, A. Meloni, S. A. Pollina, V. Di Marco, S. H. Ansari, A. Filosa, P. Ricchi, A. Ceci, S. Daar, et al., "Primary HBB gene mutation severity and long-term outcomes in a global cohort of β-thalassaemia.", British journal of haematology, vol. 196, issue 2, pp. 414-423, 2022. Abstract

In β-thalassaemia, the severity of inherited β-globin gene mutations determines the severity of the clinical phenotype at presentation and subsequent transfusion requirements. However, data on associated long-term outcomes remain limited. We analysed data from 2109 β-thalassaemia patients with available genotypes in a global database. Genotype severity was grouped as β /β , β /β , β /β , β /β , β /β , and β /β . Patients were followed from birth until death or loss to follow-up. The median follow-up time was 34·1 years. Mortality and multiple morbidity outcomes were analyzed through five different stratification models of genotype severity groups. Interestingly, β and β mutations showed similar risk profiles. Upon adjustment for demographics and receipt of conventional therapy, patients with β /β , β /β , or β /β had a 2·104-increased risk of death [95% confidence interval (CI): 1·176-3·763, P = 0·011] and 2·956-increased odds of multiple morbidity (95% CI: 2·310-3·784, P < 0·001) compared to patients in lower genotype severity groups. Cumulative survival estimates by age 65 years were 36·8% for this subgroup compared with 90·2% for patients in lower genotype severity groups (P < 0·001). Our study identified mortality and morbidity risk estimates across various genotype severity groups in patients with β-thalassaemia and suggests inclusion of both β and β mutations in strata of greatest severity.

Musallam, K. M., A. Vitrano, A. Meloni, S. A. Pollina, M. Karimi, A. El-Beshlawy, M. Hajipour, V. Di Marco, S. H. Ansari, A. Filosa, et al., "Risk of mortality from anemia and iron overload in nontransfusion-dependent β-thalassemia.", American journal of hematology, vol. 97, issue 2, pp. E78-E80, 2022.
2021
El-Beshlawy, A., K. Abdel-Azim, A. Abdel-Salam, N. A. Gebril, Y. M. M. Selim, and F. Said, "Clinical Characteristics, Molecular Background, and Survival of Egyptian Patients With Gaucher Disease Over a 20-Year Follow-up.", Journal of pediatric hematology/oncology, 2021. Abstract

This study analyzes the general disease characteristics, impact of enzyme replacement therapy (ERT), and overall survival (OS) of 156 Egyptian patients with Gaucher disease (GD) enrolled on hormone replacement from 1998 to 2017. The mean age at diagnosis was 32.46±12.68 months. Anemia was noted at diagnosis in 50%, thrombocytopenia in 30.7%, severe splenomegaly in 58.7%, severe hepatomegaly in 11.9%, and skeletal findings were detected in 24.3% of the patients. The most prevalent GD type was type 3 (54.5%). Twenty-two of type 3 patients had no neurological manifestations at diagnosis, and 12 developed variable central nervous system manifestations during follow-up. The most common neurological features were limited eye movements, oculomotor apraxia, and squint. Of the 60 patients for whom genotypes were obtained, homozygous L444P was the most common (n=35/60, 58.3%). Treatment with ERT (imiglucerase) revealed significant improvements in blood indices, organ volumes, and growth parameters (P<0.05). Ten (11.7%) type 3 patients did not develop any neurological manifestations under ERT over 20 years. Mortality was 16%, and the 20-year OS was 73.3%. We conclude that in Egypt, type 3 is the most prevalent phenotype of GD, and homozygous L444P is the predominant GBA genotype of GD. Early age at diagnosis and treatment with ERT over 20 years revealed significant improvements in disease manifestations, with an OS of 73.3%.

Vitrano, A., A. Meloni, W. A. Pollina, M. Karimi, A. El-Beshlawy, M. Hajipour, V. Di Marco, S. H. Ansari, A. Filosa, P. Ricchi, et al., "A complication risk score to evaluate clinical severity of thalassaemia syndromes.", British journal of haematology, vol. 192, issue 3, pp. 626-633, 2021. Abstract

The thalassaemia syndromes (TS) show different phenotype severity. Developing a reliable, practical and global tool to determine disease severity and tailor treatment would be of great value. Overall, 7910 patients were analysed with the aim of constructing a complication risk score (CoRS) to evaluate the probability of developing one or more complications. Nine independent variables were included in the investigation as predictors. Logistic regression models were used for Group A [transfusion-dependent thalassaemia (TDT)], Group B [transfused non-TDT (NTDT)] and Group C (non-transfused NTDT). Statistically significant predictors included age (years), haemoglobin levels, hepatic transaminases [alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase] and left-ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) for Group A; age (years), age at first chelation (months), ALT and LVEF for Group B; and age (years), mean serum ferritin (SF) levels and LVEF for Group C. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 84·5%, 82·1% and 80·0% for Groups A, Group B and Group C respectively, suggesting the models had good discrimination. Finally, the CoRS for each group was categorised into four risk classes (low, intermediate, high, and very high) using the centiles of its distribution. In conclusion, we have developed a CoRS for TS that can assist physicians in prospectively tailoring patients' treatment.

Hassan, S., R. Palla, C. Valsecchi, I. Garagiola, A. El-Beshlawy, M. Elalfy, V. Ramanan, P. Eshghi, M. Karimi, S. C. Gouw, et al., "Performance of a clinical risk prediction model for inhibitor formation in severe haemophilia A.", Haemophilia : the official journal of the World Federation of Hemophilia, 2021. Abstract

BACKGROUND: There is a need to identify patients with haemophilia who have a very low or high risk of developing inhibitors. These patients could be candidates for personalized treatment strategies.

AIMS: The aim of this study was to externally validate a previously published prediction model for inhibitor development and to develop a new prediction model that incorporates novel predictors.

METHODS: The population consisted of 251 previously untreated or minimally treated patients with severe haemophilia A enrolled in the SIPPET study. The outcome was inhibitor formation. Model discrimination was measured using the C-statistic, and model calibration was assessed with a calibration plot. The new model was internally validated using bootstrap resampling.

RESULTS: Firstly, the previously published prediction model was validated. It consisted of three variables: family history of inhibitor development, F8 gene mutation and intensity of first treatment with factor VIII (FVIII). The C-statistic was 0.53 (95% CI: 0.46-0.60), and calibration was limited. Furthermore, a new prediction model was developed that consisted of four predictors: F8 gene mutation, intensity of first treatment with FVIII, the presence of factor VIII non-neutralizing antibodies before treatment initiation and lastly FVIII product type (recombinant vs. plasma-derived). The C-statistic was 0.66 (95 CI: 0.57-0.75), and calibration was moderate. Using a model cut-off point of 10%, positive- and negative predictive values were 0.22 and 0.95, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Performance of all prediction models was limited. However, the new model with all predictors may be useful for identifying a small number of patients with a low risk of inhibitor formation.

Musallam, K. M., A. Vitrano, A. Meloni, W. A. Pollina, M. Karimi, A. El-Beshlawy, M. Hajipour, V. Di Marco, S. H. Ansari, A. Filosa, et al., "Survival and causes of death in 2033 patients with non-transfusion-dependent β-thalassemia.", Haematologica, 2021.
Howard, J., K. I. Ataga, R. C. Brown, M. Achebe, V. Nduba, A. El-Beshlawy, H. Hassab, I. Agodoa, M. Tonda, S. Gray, et al., "Voxelotor in adolescents and adults with sickle cell disease (HOPE): long-term follow-up results of an international, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial.", The Lancet. Haematology, vol. 8, issue 5, pp. e323-e333, 2021. Abstract

BACKGROUND: For decades, patients with sickle cell disease have had only a limited number of therapies available. In 2019, voxelotor (1500 mg), an oral once-daily sickle haemoglobin polymerisation inhibitor, was approved in the USA for the treatment of sickle cell disease in patients aged 12 years and older on the basis of HOPE trial data. To further describe the applicability of voxelotor as a treatment for this chronic illness, we report the long-term efficacy and safety of this drug at 72 weeks of treatment; the conclusion of the placebo-controlled HOPE trial.

METHODS: HOPE is an international, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial done at 60 clinical sites in Canada, Egypt, France, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Lebanon, Netherlands, Oman, Turkey, the USA, and the UK. Patients (aged 12-65 years) with confirmed sickle cell disease, a haemoglobin concentration of 5·5-10·5 g/dL at enrolment, and who had between one and ten vaso-occlusive crisis events in the previous 12 months were enrolled. Patients receiving regularly scheduled transfusion therapy, who had received a transfusion in the previous 60 days, or who had been admitted to hospital for a vaso-occlusive crisis in the previous 14 days were excluded. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1:1) to receive either once-daily oral voxelotor 1500 mg, voxelotor 900 mg, or placebo for 72 weeks. Randomisation was done centrally by use of an interactive web response system, stratified by baseline hydroxyurea use (yes vs no), age group (adolescents [12 to <18 years] vs adults [18 to 65 years]), and geographic region (North America vs Europe vs other). The primary endpoint (already reported) was the proportion of patients who achieved a haemoglobin response at week 24. In this final analysis, we report prespecified long-term efficacy assessments by intention to treat, including changes in haemoglobin concentrations from baseline to week 72, changes in the concentration of haemolysis markers (absolute and percentage reticulocytes, indirect bilirubin concentrations, and lactate dehydrogenase concentrations) from baseline to week 72, the annualised incidence of vaso-occlusive crises, and patient functioning, as assessed with the Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGI-C) scale. Safety was assessed in patients who received at least one dose of treatment (modified intention-to-treat population). This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03036813.

FINDINGS: Between Dec 5, 2016, and May 3, 2018, 449 patients were screened, of whom 274 were randomly assigned to the voxelotor 1500 mg group (n=90), the voxelotor 900 mg group (n=92), or the placebo group (n=92). At week 72, the adjusted mean change in haemoglobin concentration from baseline was 1·0 g/dL (95% CI 0·7 to -1·3) in the voxelotor 1500 mg group, 0·5 g/dL (0·3 to -0·8) in the voxelotor 900 mg group, and 0·0 g/dL (-0·3 to 0·3) in the placebo group, with a significant difference observed between the voxelotor 1500 mg group and the placebo group (p<0·0001), and between the voxelotor 900 mg group and the placebo group (p=0·014). Significant improvements in markers of haemolysis, as assessed by the difference in adjusted mean percentage change from baseline at week 72 versus placebo, were observed in the voxelotor 1500 mg group in indirect bilirubin concentrations (-26·6% [95% CI -40·2 to -12·9]) and percentage of reticulocytes (-18·6% [-33·9 to -3·3]). The proportion of patients in the voxelotor 1500 mg group who were rated as "moderately improved" or "very much improved" at week 72 with the CGI-C was significantly greater than in the placebo group (39 [74%] of 53 vs 24 [47%] of 51; p=0·0057). Serious adverse events unrelated to sickle cell disease were reported in 25 (28%) of 88 patients in the voxelotor 1500 mg group, 20 (22%) of 92 patients in the voxelotor 900 mg group, and 23 (25%) of 91 patients in the placebo group. Grade 3 or 4 adverse events were infrequent (ie, occurred in <10% of patients); anaemia occurred in five or more patients (two [2%] patients in the voxelotor 1500 mg group, seven [8%] patients in the voxelotor 900 mg group, and three [3%] patients in the placebo group). Of all 274 patients, six (2%) deaths occurred during the study (two deaths in each treatment group), all of which were judged as unrelated to treatment.

INTERPRETATION: Voxelotor 1500 mg resulted in rapid and durable improvements in haemoglobin concentrations maintained over 72 weeks and has potential to address the substantial morbidity associated with haemolytic anaemia in sickle cell disease.

FUNDING: Global Blood Therapeutics.

2020
Maggio, A., A. Kattamis, M. Felisi, G. Reggiardo, A. El-Beshlawy, M. Bejaoui, L. Sherief, S. Christou, C. Cosmi, O. Della Pasqua, et al., "Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of deferiprone compared with deferasirox in paediatric patients with transfusion-dependent haemoglobinopathies (DEEP-2): a multicentre, randomised, open-label, non-inferiority, phase 3 trial.", The Lancet. Haematology, vol. 7, issue 6, pp. e469-e478, 2020. Abstract

BACKGROUND: Transfusion-dependent haemoglobinopathies require lifelong iron chelation therapy with one of the three iron chelators (deferiprone, deferasirox, or deferoxamine). Deferasirox and deferiprone are the only two oral chelators used in adult patients with transfusion-dependent haemoglobinopathies. To our knowledge, there are no randomised clinical trials comparing deferiprone, a less expensive iron chelator, with deferasirox in paediatric patients. We aimed to show the non-inferiority of deferiprone versus deferasirox.

METHODS: DEEP-2 was a phase 3, multicentre, randomised trial in paediatric patients (aged 1 month to 18 years) with transfusion-dependent haemoglobinopathies. The study was done in 21 research hospitals and universities in Italy, Egypt, Greece, Albania, Cyprus, Tunisia, and the UK. Participants were receiving at least 150 mL/kg per year of red blood cells for the past 2 years at the time of enrolment, and were receiving deferoxamine (<100 mg/kg per day) or deferasirox (<40 mg/kg per day; deferasirox is not registered for use in children aged <2 years so only deferoxamine was being used in these patients). Any previous chelation treatment was permitted with a 7-day washout period. Patients were randomly assigned 1:1 to receive orally administered daily deferiprone (75-100 mg/kg per day) or daily deferasirox (20-40 mg/kg per day) administered as dispersible tablets, both with dose adjustment for 12 months, stratified by age (<10 years and ≥10 years) and balanced by country. The primary efficacy endpoint was based on predefined success criteria for changes in serum ferritin concentration (all patients) and cardiac MRI T2-star (T2*; patients aged >10 years) to show non-inferiority of deferiprone versus deferasirox in the per-protocol population, defined as all randomly assigned patients who received the study drugs and had available data for both variables at baseline and after 1 year of treatment, without major protocol violations. Non-inferiority was based on the two-sided 95% CI of the difference in the proportion of patients with treatment success between the two groups and was shown if the lower limit of the two-sided 95% CI was greater than -12·5%. Safety was assessed in all patients who received at least one dose of study drug. This study is registered with EudraCT, 2012-000353-31, and ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01825512.

FINDINGS: 435 patients were enrolled between March 17, 2014, and June 16, 2016, 393 of whom were randomly assigned to a treatment group (194 to the deferiprone group; 199 to the deferasirox group). 352 (90%) of 390 patients had β-thalassaemia major, 27 (7%) had sickle cell disease, five (1%) had thalassodrepanocytosis, and six (2%) had other haemoglobinopathies. Median follow-up was 379 days (IQR 294-392) for deferiprone and 381 days (350-392) for deferasirox. Non-inferiority of deferiprone versus deferasirox was established (treatment success in 69 [55·2%] of 125 patients assigned deferiprone with primary composite efficacy endpoint data available at baseline and 1 year vs 80 [54·8%] of 146 assigned deferasirox, difference 0·4%; 95% CI -11·9 to 12·6). No significant difference between the groups was shown in the occurrence of serious and drug-related adverse events. Three (2%) cases of reversible agranulocytosis occurred in the 193 patients in the safety analysis in the deferiprone group and two (1%) cases of reversible renal and urinary disorders (one case of each) occurred in the 197 patients in the deferasirox group. Compliance was similar between treatment groups: 183 (95%) of 193 patients in the deferiprone group versus 192 (97%) of 197 patients in the deferisirox group.

INTERPRETATION: In paediatric patients with transfusion-dependent haemoglobinopathies, deferiprone was effective and safe in inducing control of iron overload during 12 months of treatment. Considering the need for availability of more chelation treatments in paediatric populations, deferiprone offers a valuable treatment option for this age group.

FUNDING: EU Seventh Framework Programme.

Mohamed, Y. S. A., M. K. Zayet, O. M. Omar, and A. M. El-Beshlawy, "Jaw bones' involvement and dental features of type I and type III Gaucher disease: a radiographic study of 42 paediatric patients.", European archives of paediatric dentistry : official journal of the European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry, vol. 21, issue 2, pp. 241-247, 2020. Abstract

PURPOSE: Gaucher disease (GD) is a lysosomal storage disease caused by an autosomal recessive inherited deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme glucocerebrosidase. The aim of this study is to describe jaw bones' involvement and dental radiographic features in paediatric Gaucher disease patients (type I and type III).

METHODS: The study population of this case-control study included: 42 Gaucher patients (study group) and 84 medically free children (control group). The radiographic images of both groups were analysed for the following findings: generalised bone rarefaction, localised rarefaction and enlarged bone marrow spaces, thinning of cortex, pseudocystic radiolucent lesions, anodontia and dental anomalies. Dental age assessment of Gaucher patients using the Demirjian's method was also performed.

RESULTS: Generalised rarefaction showed almost similar percentages in both types of Gaucher disease cases. Localised rarefaction was noted in 30.77% and 18.75% of Gaucher disease type III and type I, respectively. Pseudocystic radiolucent lesions, thinning of cortex, anodontia and dental anomalies were more prevalent in type III Gaucher patients. The mean chronological and mean dental ages in both sexes of Gaucher patients were not statistically significant.

CONCLUSION: Thinning of cortex, localised rarefaction and generalised rarefaction are the most common jaw bone findings in Gaucher patients.

El-Beshlawy, A., A. A. Salama, M. R. El-Masry, N. M. ElHusseiny, and A. M. Abdelhameed, "A study of red blood cell alloimmunization and autoimmunization among 200 multitransfused Egyptian β thalassemia patients.", Scientific reports, vol. 10, issue 1, pp. 21079, 2020. Abstract

The development of hemolytic erythrocyte alloantibodies and autoantibodies complicates transfusion therapy in thalassemia patients. These antibodies ultimately increase the need for blood and intensify transfusion complications. There is a scanty data on the frequency of RBC alloimmunization and autoimmunization in Egyptian β thalassemia patients as pretransfusion antibody screening is not routinely performed. We studied the frequency of alloimmunization and autoimmunization among 200 multiply transfused β thalassemia patients and investigated the factors that possibly affect antibody formation. Of the 200 patients in our study, 94 were males and 106 females, with the age range of 2-37 years. Alloantibodies were detected in 36 (18%) of the patients, while autoantibodies were detected in 33 (16.5%). The dominant alloantibodies were directed against Kell (33%) and Rh (24.4%) groups. Alloimmunization had a significant relationship with treatment duration and the frequency of transfusion (P = 0.007, 0.001, respectively). The presence of autoantibodies was significantly related to age (P = 0.001), total number of transfused units (P = 0.000) and splenectomy (P = 0.000). The high prevalence of alloimmunization in the study population disclosed the need for providing phenotypically matched cells for selective antigens especially for Kell and Rh subgroups to reduce risk of alloimmunization and increase the efficiency of blood transfusion.

2019
Mistry, P. K., M. Balwani, H. N. Baris, H. B. Turkia, A. T. Burrow, J. Charrow, G. F. Cox, S. Danda, M. Dragosky, G. Drelichman, et al., "Addendum to Letter to the Editor: Safety, efficacy, and authorization of eliglustat as a first-line therapy in Gaucher disease type 1.", Blood cells, molecules & diseases, vol. 77, pp. 101-102, 2019.
El-Beshlawy, A., B. Inusa, D. Beneitez Pastor, B. Xicoy, M. Soledada Duran Nieto, A. Bruederle, A. Azmon, G. Gilotti, and M. Elalfy, "International sentinel site surveillance of patients with transfusional hemosiderosis treated with deferasirox in actual practice setting.", Hematology (Amsterdam, Netherlands), vol. 24, issue 1, pp. 238-246, 2019. Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The study evaluates the long-term deferasirox treatment of adult and pediatric patients with chronic transfusional iron overload in clinical practice.

METHODS: In this non-interventional study, patients were observed for up to 3 years from initiation of deferasirox treatment both prospectively and retrospectively for up to 1 year prior to enrollment. The primary end points were the proportion of patients with ≥1 notable increase in serum creatinine (SCr), and ≥1 notable increase in alanine aminotransferase (ALT).

RESULTS: Overall, 120 patients were enrolled and 51 completed the study, with a limited 3-year dropout rate of 12.5% due to adverse events (AEs). Increase in SCr > 33% above baseline and the age-adjusted ULN (upper limit of normal) was observed in 14 patients (95%CI, 7.1-19.2). The ALT levels >5 × ULN was observed in 1 patient. Most frequent AEs reported during treatment with deferasirox include gastrointestinal disturbances.

CONCLUSIONS: The long-term treatment with deferasirox was manageable in most transfusion-dependent patients with no unexpected safety findings. Regular monitoring and an adjusted deferasirox dosing strategy per local labels allowed continued iron chelation treatment and control of transfusional iron in the majority of patients on study.

Vichinsky, E., C. C. Hoppe, K. I. Ataga, R. E. Ware, V. Nduba, A. El-Beshlawy, H. Hassab, M. M. Achebe, S. Alkindi, C. R. Brown, et al., "A Phase 3 Randomized Trial of Voxelotor in Sickle Cell Disease.", The New England journal of medicine, vol. 381, issue 6, pp. 509-519, 2019. Abstract

BACKGROUND: Deoxygenated sickle hemoglobin (HbS) polymerization drives the pathophysiology of sickle cell disease. Therefore, direct inhibition of HbS polymerization has potential to favorably modify disease outcomes. Voxelotor is an HbS polymerization inhibitor.

METHODS: In a multicenter, phase 3, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, we compared the efficacy and safety of two dose levels of voxelotor (1500 mg and 900 mg, administered orally once daily) with placebo in persons with sickle cell disease. The primary end point was the percentage of participants who had a hemoglobin response, which was defined as an increase of more than 1.0 g per deciliter from baseline at week 24 in the intention-to-treat analysis.

RESULTS: A total of 274 participants were randomly assigned in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive a once-daily oral dose of 1500 mg of voxelotor, 900 mg of voxelotor, or placebo. Most participants had sickle cell anemia (homozygous hemoglobin S or hemoglobin Sβ-thalassemia), and approximately two thirds were receiving hydroxyurea at baseline. In the intention-to-treat analysis, a significantly higher percentage of participants had a hemoglobin response in the 1500-mg voxelotor group (51%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 41 to 61) than in the placebo group (7%; 95% CI, 1 to 12). Anemia worsened between baseline and week 24 in fewer participants in each voxelotor dose group than in those receiving placebo. At week 24, the 1500-mg voxelotor group had significantly greater reductions from baseline in the indirect bilirubin level and percentage of reticulocytes than the placebo group. The percentage of participants with an adverse event that occurred or worsened during the treatment period was similar across the trial groups. Adverse events of at least grade 3 occurred in 26% of the participants in the 1500-mg voxelotor group, 23% in the 900-mg voxelotor group, and 26% in the placebo group. Most adverse events were not related to the trial drug or placebo, as determined by the investigators.

CONCLUSIONS: In this phase 3 randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving participants with sickle cell disease, voxelotor significantly increased hemoglobin levels and reduced markers of hemolysis. These findings are consistent with inhibition of HbS polymerization and indicate a disease-modifying potential. (Funded by Global Blood Therapeutics; HOPE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03036813.).

El-Beshlawy, A., and M. El-Ghamrawy, "Recent trends in treatment of thalassemia.", Blood cells, molecules & diseases, vol. 76, pp. 53-58, 2019. Abstract

Thalassemia is a common inherited monogenic disease. It is characterized by chronic hemolysis, ineffective erythropoiesis (IE) and iron overload. Despite advances in transfusion practices and chelation therapy, still many limitations in delivering these standard therapies exist. Challenges of currently available standard care and advances in understanding the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms in thalassemia stimulated research towards development of novel therapeutic targets. Agents reducing IE as Jak 2 inhibitors and Activin II receptor traps are promising and are currently in clinical trials. Other approaches targeting iron dysregulation as mini-hepcidins, exogenous transferrin and erythroferrone inhibitors are in preclinical studies. Gene therapy, a rapidly evolving field, has exhibited remarkable progress in recent years. Studies have focused on β or γ-globin addition, over expression of endogenous γ-globin-activating transcription factors, silencing of γ-globin repressors and genome editing of β-globin mutations or γ-globin repressors. In this article we provide an overview of emerging recent trends in treatment of thalassemia targeting IE, iron dysregulation and novel curative treatments as gene therapy and gene editing.

ElBeshlawy, A., V. Murugesan, P. K. Mistry, and K. Eid, "Reversal of life-threatening hepatopulmonary syndrome in Gaucher disease by imiglucerase enzyme replacement therapy.", Molecular genetics and metabolism reports, vol. 20, pp. 100490, 2019. Abstract

Advanced liver disease complicated by hepatopulmonary syndrome is a recognized complication of Gaucher disease. Macrophage-targeted, recombinant enzyme replacement therapy is effective in reversing clinical manifestations attributed to the accumulation of glycolipid-laden macrophages but it is not known whether advanced fibrotic features of the disease can be ameliorated. We describe a splenectomized patient with Gaucher disease who developed massive hepatomegaly, cirrhosis of the liver and life-threatening hepatopulmonary syndrome. Treatment with Imiglucerase enzyme replacement therapy resulted in dramatic reversal of hepatopulmonary syndrome and liver disease. Our report suggests that Gaucher disease pathology involving advanced fibrosis and life-threatening complications can be reversed by imiglucerase enzyme therapy.

Synopsis: Effect of imiglucerase enzyme replacement therapy on Hepatopulmonary Syndrome in Gaucher Disease.

Repessé, Y., C. Costa, R. Palla, E. F. Moshai, A. Borel-Derlon, R. D'Oiron, C. Rothschild, A. El-Beshlawy, M. Elalfy, V. Ramanan, et al., "Role of factor VIII-binding capacity of endogenous von Willebrand factor in the development of factor VIII inhibitors in patients with severe hemophilia A.", Haematologica, vol. 104, issue 8, pp. e369-e372, 2019.
2018
Spena, S., I. Garagiola, A. Cannavò, M. Mortarino, P. M. Mannucci, F. R. Rosendaal, and F. Peyvandi, "Prediction of factor VIII inhibitor development in the SIPPET cohort by mutational analysis and factor VIII antigen measurement.", Journal of thrombosis and haemostasis : JTH, vol. 16, issue 4, pp. 778-790, 2018. Abstract

Essentials A residual factor VIII synthesis is likely to be protective towards inhibitor (INH) development. Mutation type-inhibitor risk association was explored in 231 patients with severe hemophilia A. A 2-fold increase in INH development for in silico null vs. non-null mutations was found. A 3.5-fold increase in INH risk for antigen negative vs. antigen positive mutations was found.

SUMMARY: Background The type of F8 mutation is the main predictor of inhibitor development in patients with severe hemophilia A. Mutations expected to allow residual synthesis of factor VIII are likely to play a protective role against alloantibody development by inducing immune tolerance. According to the expected full or partial impairment of FVIII synthesis, F8 variants are commonly classified as null and non-null. Objectives To explore the mutation type-inhibitor risk association in a cohort of 231 patients with severe hemophilia A enrolled in the Survey of Inhibitors in Plasma-Product Exposed Toddlers (SIPPET) randomized trial. Methods The genetic defects in these patients, consisting of inversions of intron 22 (n = 110) and intron 1 (n = 6), large deletions (n = 16), and nonsense (n = 38), frameshift (n = 28), missense (n = 19) and splicing (n = 14) variants, of which 34 have been previously unreported, were reclassified according to two additional criteria: the functional effects of missense and splicing alterations as predicted by multiple in silico analyses, and the levels of FVIII antigen in patient plasma. Results A two-fold increase in inhibitor development for in silico null mutations as compared with in silico non-null mutations (hazard ratio [HR] 2.08, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.84-5.17) and a 3.5-fold increase in inhibitor development for antigen-negative mutations as compared with antigen-positive mutations (HR 3.61, 95% CI 0.89-14.74] were found. Conclusions Our findings confirm an association between the synthesis of minute amounts of FVIII and inhibitor protection, and underline the importance of investigating the residual FVIII antigen levels associated with causative variants in order to understand their clinical relevance.

Mistry, P. K., M. Balwani, H. N. Baris, H. B. Turkia, A. T. Burrow, J. Charrow, G. F. Cox, S. Danda, M. Dragosky, G. Drelichman, et al., "Safety, efficacy, and authorization of eliglustat as a first-line therapy in Gaucher disease type 1.", Blood cells, molecules & diseases, vol. 71, pp. 71-74, 2018.
2017
Vichinsky, E., A. El-Beshlawy, A. Al Zoebie, A. Kamdem, S. Koussa, T. Chotsampancharoen, A. Bruederle, G. Gilotti, J. Han, and M. Elalfy, "Long-term safety and efficacy of deferasirox in young pediatric patients with transfusional hemosiderosis: Results from a 5-year observational study (ENTRUST).", Pediatric blood & cancer, vol. 64, issue 9, 2017 Sep. Abstract

BACKGROUND: Children with red blood cell disorders may receive regular transfusions from an early age and consequently accumulate iron. Adequate iron chelation therapy can prevent organ damage and delayed growth/development. Deferasirox is indicated for treatment of pediatric patients with chronic iron overload due to transfusional hemosiderosis; however, fewer than 10% of patients in the registration studies were aged 2 to less than 6 years.

PROCEDURE: Deferasirox, a once-daily oral iron chelator, was evaluated in young pediatric patients with transfusional hemosiderosis during the observational 5-year ENTRUST study. Patients aged 2 to less than 6 years at enrollment received deferasirox according to local prescribing information, with the primary objective of evaluating safety, specifically renal and hepatic function. Serum ferritin was observed as a surrogate efficacy parameter.

RESULTS: In total, 267 patients (mean age 3.2 years) predominantly with β-thalassemia (n = 176, 65.9%) were enrolled. Mean ± standard deviation deferasirox dose was 25.8 ± 6.5 mg/kg per day over a median of 59.9 months. A total of 145 patients (54.3%) completed 5 years' treatment. The proportion of patients with two or more consecutive postbaseline measurements (≥7 days apart) of serum creatinine higher than age-adjusted upper limit of normal (ULN) and alanine aminotransferase more than five times the ULN was 4.4% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.1-7.9) and 4.0% (95% CI: 1.8-7.4), respectively. Median serum ferritin decreased from 1,702 ng/ml at baseline to 1,127 ng/ml at 5 years. There were no new safety signals.

CONCLUSIONS: Safety and efficacy of deferasirox in young pediatric patients in this long-term, observational study in everyday clinical practice were consistent with the known deferasirox profile.

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