Volume 133, Issue 8



February 21, 2019 – Welcome to “This Week in Blood,” a weekly snapshot of the hottest studies from each week’s issue of Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), hand-picked by Blood Editor-in-Chief Bob Löwenberg, MD, PhD, and Deputy Editor Nancy Berliner, MD.

Cover Figure: Splicing factor BCAS2 modulates HSPC maintenance during zebrafish embryogenesis. See the article by Yu et al.

Arterial thromboembolic events preceding the diagnosis of cancer in older persons
Venous thrombosis has been known to be a harbinger of malignancy since the days of Trousseau. In a plenary paper, Navi et al report that myocardial infarctions and strokes are also more common in the 5 months preceding a cancer diagnosis.

BCAS2 is essential for hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell maintenance during zebrafish embryogenesis
BCAS2 is a component of the pre-RNA splicing complex. Yu and colleagues demonstrate that its activity is important for hematopoietic stem cell survival, as knockout of BCAS2 alters splicing and activity of the p53 regulator Mdm4.

Inflammatory signals directly instruct PU.1 in HSCs via TNF
Etzrodt et al demonstrate that tumor necrosis factor (TNF) upregulates transcription of PU.1 in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to modulate differentiation toward the myeloid lineage in the setting of inflammation.

FBXW7 mutations reduce binding of NOTCH1, leading to cleaved NOTCH1 accumulation and target gene activation in CLL
Close and colleagues demonstrate that mutations in the E3-ubiquitin ligase gene FBXW7, which are found in 2% to 6% of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients, lead to NOTCH1 accumulation and target gene activation, confirming its role as a driver gene in the disease.

The natural history of asymptomatic central venous catheter–related thrombosis in critically ill children
In this month’s CME article, Jones and colleagues challenge the prevailing recommendation that asymptomatic central venous catheter–related thrombosis in pediatric intensive care unit patients requires anticoagulation. In a prospective study of untreated asymptomatic clots, they demonstrate an extremely low rate of clot extension or chronic sequelae.

Deep functional immunophenotyping predicts risk of cytomegalovirus reactivation after hematopoietic cell transplantation
Camargo et al used multiparameter flow cytometry to immunophenotype CD8+ T cells from allogeneic transplant recipients and characterize phenotypic profiles that predict risk of cytomegalovirus reactivation, providing potential tools for better risk stratification and candidates for preemptive therapy.

Luspatercept for the treatment of anemia in myelodysplastic syndromes and primary myelofibrosis
In a Blood Spotlight, Fenaux and colleagues discuss the role of luspatercept, an activin receptor II ligand trap, in the treatment of anemia in low-risk myelodysplasia and primary myelofibrosis patients.

How I treat low von Willebrand factor levels
Lavin and O’Donnell use 3 cases to describe the presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of symptomatic patients with low von Willebrand factor (VWF) levels, defined as a VWF antigen level between 30 and 50 IU/dL.

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