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Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2007 Mar;61(3):208-21. Epub 2006 Oct 2.

Pharmacological and clinical evaluation of L-asparaginase in the treatment of leukemia.

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  • 1Department of Biotechnology, Himachal Pradesh University, Summer Hill, Shimla, India.


L-Asparaginase is an effective antineoplastic agent, used in the acute lymphoblastic leukemia chemotherapy. It has been an integral part of combination chemotherapy protocols of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia for almost 3 decades. The potential of L-asparaginase as a drug of leukemia has been a matter of discussion due to the high rate of allergic reactions exhibited by the patients receiving the medication of this enzyme drug. Frequent need of intramuscular injection has been another disadvantage associated with the native preparation. However, of late these clinical complications seem to have been addressed by modified versions of L-asparaginase. PEG-L-asparaginase proves to be most effective in this regard. It becomes important to discuss the efficacy of L-asparaginase as an antileukemic drug vis-a-vis these disadvantages. In this review, an attempt has been made to critically evaluate the pharmacological and clinical potential of various preparations of L-asparaginase as a drug. Advantages of PEG-L-asparaginase over native preparations and historical developments of therapy with l-asparaginase have also been outlined in the review below.

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