Venetoclax-Azacitidine, the new standard of care for AML patients unfit for intensive treatment: A guide for clinical practice

BJH - volume 14, issue 2, march 2023

I. Moors MD, D. Deeren , C. Jacquy MD, PhD, A. Jaspers MD, PhD, T. Kerre MD, PhD, V. Havelange MD, PhD, D. Selleslag MD, C. Spilleboudt MD, N. Straetmans MD, PhD, F. Van Obbergh MD, A. De Voeght MD, S. Anguille MD, PhD, A. Schauwvlieghe MD, PhD, N. De Beule MD, PhD, A. De Becker MD, D. Breems MD, PhD


Acute myeloid leukaemia is an aggressive form of bone marrow cancer with poor prognosis, especially in elderly, unfit patients. The VIALE-A study showed an impressive improvement in complete remission rate and overall survival with the addition of venetoclax, a BCL-2 inhibitor, to azacitidine. This combination therapy is now reimbursed in Belgium for newly diagnosed adult AML patients who are considered unfit for intensive chemotherapy based on age and/or comorbidities. In this article, we provide recommendations on the use of this new combination, as well as on prophylaxis and management of specific side effects.

(BELG J HEMATOL 2023;14(2):59–66)

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TCR-based T cell immunotherapy for AML: Multidimensional aids in optimising treatment and patient identification

BJH - volume 13, issue 4, june 2022

S. Bonte PhD, T. Kerre MD, PhD


Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) has a dismal outcome, as demonstrated by a 5-year overall survival rate of only 26%. Although a complete remission can be achieved in approximately 50% of the patients with classical chemotherapy, the chances of relapse are high. Current treatment options for relapsed or refractory AML only offer a bridge to allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation since no other curative option exists. In primary refractory patients, and patients at high risk for relapse, harnessing the power of the immune system with immunotherapy might provide a new treatment option. In this dissertation, we approached AML immunotherapy from two sides: the optimisation of TCR-based immunotherapy for AML, and of the identification of patients eligible for this type of treatment.

(BELG J HEMATOL 2022;13(4):165–7)

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A multicentric observational study on the management of hyperleukocytic acute myeloid leukaemia in Belgium

BJH - volume 11, issue 7, november 2020

S. Kennes MD, I. Moors MD, dr. A. Delie MD, S. Anguille MD, PhD, D. Breems MD, PhD, D. Selleslag MD, T. Kerre MD, PhD



In hyperleukocytic acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) the risk of leukostasis is high due to the rapid increase in WBC count and the size of the myeloid blasts. It is associated with poor prognosis due to an increased risk of early death and relapse. Immediate initiation of cytoreductive treatment is essential to improve outcome, but evidence to prefer hydroxyurea, leukapheresis, intensive chemotherapy (IC) or a combination treatment, is lacking. Therefore, we decided to investigate the current approach of hyperleukocytic AML in Belgium.


A brief questionnaire on the management of hyperleukocytic AML was sent to all Belgian centres currently treating AML with IC and was replied by ten centres. Four centres agreed to a more detailed retrospective analysis. All newly diagnosed AML patients presenting with hyperleukocytosis between January 2013 and April 2019 were included. Patient and disease characteristics were collected, as well as treatment choice and outcome parameters.


We included 121 patients with a median WBC count of 116,360/µL. Mortality at day 21 was 20% and overall mortality was 64% at a median follow-up of six months. Twenty percent received leukapheresis, which was started within 24 hours. There was no difference in age distribution, treatment intensity or time to start IC between patients receiving leukapheresis or not. Although the leukapheresis group had a more severe presentation with a higher median WBC and blast count and a worse performance status, there was no difference in response to therapy, early or long-term mortality. In a multivariate analysis, age at diagnosis and treatment modality (IC vs non-IC) were the only independent parameters that significantly affected early death.


Evidence on optimal treatment options in hyperleukocytic AML is lacking. We could not demonstrate any added value of leukapheresis. To improve the prognosis of this dramatic presentation, national or even European databases should be used to document and learn from the outcome of current practice.

(BELG J HEMATOL 2020;11(7):325-34)

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Acute graft-versus-host disease: diagnosis, pathophysiology and prevention

BJH - volume 11, issue 4, june 2020

B. Vandenhove PhD student, L. Canti PhD student, H. Schoemans MD, PhD, Y. Beguin MD, PhD, prof. F. Baron , E. Willems MD, PhD, C. Graux MD, PhD, T. Kerre MD, PhD, S. Servais MD, PhD


Acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) remains a severe complication after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (alloHCT). It is a disregulated immune process, during which the immune cells of the donor attack the healthy tissues in the immunocompromised host. Over the past two decades, progress in understanding its pathophysiology have helped redefine aGVHD reactions and clinical presentations. Typically, the disease presents with serious inflammatory lesions mainly in the skin, gut and liver. Its severity is assessed by gathering clinical signs and dysfunctions of each organ. Despite standard prophylaxis regimens, aGVHD still occurs in approximately 30–60% of transplanted patients and remains a major cause of transplant-related morbidity and mortality. Hence, there is an urgent need for optimising preventive strategies. In this review, we give insights on how to make an accurate diagnosis and scoring assessment of aGVHD, propose a short overview of the current knowledge about its immunobiology and discuss the current and developing strategies for prevention.

(BELG J HEMATOL 2020;11(4):159–173)

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Big Children or Small Adults? Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) Treatment in Adolescence and Young Adulthood

BJH - volume 11, issue 3, may 2020

K. Maes MD, B. De Moerloose MD, PhD, M. Quaghebeur , J. De Munter , T. Kerre MD, PhD, I. Moors MD


Adolescents and young adults (AYAs), aged 15 to 39 years, with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) differ from both younger and older patients in terms of patient-specific as well as disease-specific factors. The improvement in outcome over time for this group is noticeably less than for their younger and older counterparts. Reasons for this are thought to be lack of standardisation of therapy, being treated with either adult or paediatric regimens, low trial participation and specific psychosocial factors. In this article, we review the distinct characteristics of AYA AML in order to address this issue and conclude that an AYA-specific approach and research are warranted to overcome stagnating outcome results.

(BELG J HEMATOL 2020;11(3):98–101)

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Big Children or Small Adults? Leukaemia Treatment in Adolescence and Young Adulthood

BJH - volume 11, issue 3, may 2020

R. Callens MD, B. De Moerloose MD, PhD, T. Kerre MD, PhD, M. Quaghebeur , J. De Munter , I. Moors MD


The outcome of adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) has improved dramatically over the last decades by using paediatric and paediatric-inspired protocols in this age group. The outcome of different paediatric, paediatric-inspired and adult-based regimens are compared in this review. Despite pre-existing fear among clinicians to use these high-intensity paediatric regimens in AYAs, toxicities seem manageable, with treatment-related mortality comparable to that seen with adult protocols. In paediatric protocols, the use of allogeneic stem cell transplantation is restricted to certain high-risk groups and prophylactic cranial irradiation is omitted. In recent years, evaluation of minimal residual disease is increasingly used as prognostic marker and as a tool to guide therapy. In Philadelphia-positive ALL, the use of tyrosine-kinase inhibitors has completely changed prognosis and therapeutic decisions.

(BELG J HEMATOL 2020;11(3):88–97)

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P.45 Development of a knowledge test on Immuno-T, a motion comic explaining immunotherapy to patients and their caregivers

BJH - volume 11, issue Abstract Book BHS, february 2020

W. Vandemoortele , G. Vanbutsele , M. Valcke , T. Kerre MD, PhD

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