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New strategies for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia including antibodies and other novel agents.

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1
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, 676 N. St. Clair Street, Suite 850, Chicago, IL 60611, USA. m-tallman@northwestern.edu

Abstract

The prognosis for younger adults (< or = 55-60 years) with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has improved during the last four decades. However, there has been little progress in the treatment of older adults. This disappointing observation is important because the median age of patients with AML is about 70 years. Approximately 60%-80% of younger adults with AML achieve complete remission (CR) with the cytotoxic agents cytarabine and an anthracycline such as daunorubicin or idarubicin or the anthracenedione mitoxantrone. However, only 30%-40% of such patients are alive and disease-free at 5 years. Among older adults, CR is achieved in 40%-55%, but there are very few long-term survivors. Many studies have evaluated the impact of alternative doses and schedules, as well as additional cytotoxic drugs, on the prognosis for this group of patients. The outcome has not improved substantially beyond that achieved with conventional doses of an anthracycline and cytarabine followed by high-dose cytarabine consolidation.Several factors identified at diagnosis can predict outcome. The most important of these is the karyotype of the leukemic cells. Another critical factor is the presence of transmembrane transporter proteins, which confer multidrug resistance and mutations in or overexpression of specific genes such as WT1, C/EBPalpha, BAX, and BCL-2/BAX ratio, BAALC, EVI1, KIT and FLT3. The development of specific agents directed at gene mutations, signal transduction pathways and unique cell surface antigens provide the foundation for new therapeutic strategies. Such agents include the immunoconjugate gemtuzumab ozogamicin, multidrug resistance inhibitors, farnesyltransferase inhibitors, histone deacetylase and proteosome inhibitors, antiangiogenesis agents, FLT3 inhibitors, apoptosis inhibitors, and nucleoside analogs. All of these agents can potentially address the heterogeneous abnormalities in AML and significantly improve the outcome for patients.

PMID:
16304372
DOI:
10.1182/asheducation-2005.1.143
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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