Volume 131, Issue 13



March 29, 2018 – 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: Remarkable diagnostic and therapeutic significance of IL-18 in macrophage activation syndrome. See the article by Weiss et al.

Unopposed IL-18 signaling leads to severe TLR9-induced macrophage activation syndrome in mice
Interleukin-18 diagnostically distinguishes and pathogenically promotes human and murine macrophage activation syndrome
In this issue, two studies demonstrate the ability of free plasma interleukin-18 (IL-18) to distinguish macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) from other inflammatory disorders. Further, using animal models, the investigators demonstrate that IL-18 is not just a biomarker, but a driver of inflammation and a potential therapeutic target for MAS.

Vitamin A–coupled liposomes containing siRNA against HSP47 ameliorate skin fibrosis in chronic graft-versus-host disease
Fibrosis represents the end stage of the inflammatory process in chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), leading to significant morbidity. This study furnishes compelling evidence that vitamin A–coupled liposomes carrying HSP47 siRNA ameliorate chronic GVHD–induced fibrosis.

Prognostic value of baseline metabolic tumor volume in early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma in the standard arm of the H10 trial
This retrospective study demonstrates the prognostic value of baseline positron-emission tomography–derived total metabolic tumor volume in relation to relevant clinical factors to identify high-risk early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma.

Genomic CDKN2A/2B deletions in adult Ph+ ALL are adverse despite allogeneic stem cell transplantation
The authors show that CDKN2A/2B deletions are “a strong and independent prognostic marker for predicting risk of relapse and overall survival” in adults with Philadelphia chromosome–positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL) treated with both imatinib and allogeneic stem cell transplantation.

B-cell targeting in chronic graft-versus-host disease
Although GVHD was previously thought to be mediated only by donor T cells, there is now a great deal of evidence supporting a role for donor B cells as well as T cells. This Blood Spotlight summarizes the experimental and clinical evidence for the role of B cells in GVHD.

How I treat myelodysplastic syndromes of childhood
This thoughtful How I Treat article from leaders in the field critically discusses the clinical management considerations for pediatric patients with myelodysplastic syndromes and provides an instructive and practical perspective.