Background: Primary systemic light-chain (AL) amyloidosis is characterized by the deposition of immunoglobulin light chain-derived amyloid fibrils in various tissues leading to multiorgan dysfunction. Patients and Methods: In order to define characteristics, treatment, and outcome of Greek patients with AL amyloidosis, we analyzed 112 unselected patients with AL from several hospitals. Results: The heart was involved in 59% of patients and kidneys in 71%. Patients were treated with several different treatment regimens; high-dose dexamethasone-based regimens were used as primary treatment in 43% and melphalan-based regimens in 37%, while 12% received up-front bortezomib with dexamethasone. A hematologic response to first-line therapy was documented in 50% (complete response, 14.5%), and organ responses were observed in 25% of patients, the latter being strongly associated with achievement of hematologic response. Median overall survival was 34.2 months and was independently affected by heart involvement, creatinine, age, involvement of ≥2 organs, and bone marrow plasmacytosis > 30%. In patients with cardiac involvement, advanced age and extended bone marrow plasmacytosis were associated with an even worse outcome, while for patients without heart involvement, only bone marrow plasmacytosis was independently associated with survival. Hematologic response was associated with improved survival in patients with heart involvement but mostly in patients with less bone marrow infiltration. Conclusion: In this first series of patients from Greece with AL amyloidosis, disease features and outcome appeared similar to those reported from tertiary centers. Heart involvement and bone marrow plasma cell infiltration comprise adverse prognostic factors but also indicate the heterogeneity of the disease and the need for individual treatment approaches.
Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM) is a B-Cell lymphoproliferative disorder characterized by lymphoplasmacytic bone marrow infiltration and immunoglobulin M (IgM) monoclonal gammopathy. It remains incurable, with a median survival of 5-10 years in symptomatic WM. Current first-line treatment options include alkylating agents, nucleoside analogues, and rituximab-based therapies. However, primary or secondary resistance invariably develops. Thus, new treatment options are needed. Preclinical studies have shown that the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib targets signaling pathways of relevance in WM. Bortezomib, alone and in combination with rituximab, has demonstrated notable activity in clinical studies in patients with WM, predominantly in phase II trials in the relapsed or refractory setting. In newly diagnosed patients, bortezomib plus rituximab and dexamethasone is highly active (complete response/near-complete response = 22%). Bortezomib-based therapies result in rapid responses, potentially making them suitable treatment options for patients with hyperviscosity-related symptoms who require a rapid reduction in IgM level. In addition, bortezomib appears unique in reducing rituximab-associated IgM flares. Bortezomib is generally well tolerated in WM. However, neurotoxicity is common and might be the cause of dose reduction or treatment discontinuation. Bortezomib has no adverse effect on stem cell harvesting and engraftment, making it a feasible treatment option in transplantation-eligible patients. These encouraging data have led to the inclusion of bortezomib as a salvage treatment option in the recently updated Fourth International Workshop on Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia treatment recommendations.
Epithelial cancer of the ovary is the most lethal malignancy of all gynaecological cancers. Various clinical and pathological features of ovarian cancer are used as predictors of clinical outcome. The use of molecular markers in common clinical practice seems promising for the diagnosis and prognostication. The aim of this review article is to describe current theories regarding the pathogenesis and molecular evolution of epithelial ovarian cancer. With respect to the molecules involved, this article focuses on whether they are associated with poor prognosis or not. This evaluation is performed in light of the progress made and the potential usefulness in treatment decisions without overlooking existing controversies that should be further studied. It is tempting to anticipate the gradual integration of molecular profiling in clinical practice.
Renal impairment is a common complication of multiple myeloma. Chronic renal failure is classified according to glomerular filtration rate as estimated by the MDRD (modification of diet in renal disease) formula, while RIFLE (risk, injury, failure, loss and end-stage renal disease) and AKIN (acute renal injury network) criteria may be used for the definition of the severity of acute renal injury. Novel criteria based on estimated glomerular filtration rate measurements are proposed for the definition of the reversibility of renal impairment. Renal complete response (CRrenal) is defined as sustained (i.e., lasting at least 2 months) improvement of creatinine clearance (CRCL) from under 50 mL/min at baseline to 60 mL/min or above. Renal partial response (PRrenal) is defined as sustained improvement of CRCL from under 15 mL/min at baseline to 30 to 59 mL/min. Renal minor response (MRrenal) is defined as sustained improvement of the baseline CRCL of under 15 mL/min to 15 to 29 mL/min or, if baseline CRCL was 15 to 29 mL/min, improvement to 30 to 59 mL/min. Bortezomib with high-dose dexamethasone is considered the treatment of choice for myeloma patients with renal impairment and improves renal function in most patients. Although there is limited experience with thalidomide, this agent can be administered at the standard dosage to patients with renal failure. Lenalidomide, when administered at reduced doses according to renal function, is effective and can reverse renal impairment in a subset of myeloma patients.