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J Pathol. 2010 Mar;220(4):404-18. doi: 10.1002/path.2669.

Targeted therapy in haematological malignancies.

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Section of Experimental Haematology, Cancer Division, Faculty of Medicine, University of Glasgow, and Paul O'Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre, Gartnavel General Hospital, Glasgow, UK.


The recent and rapid development of molecularly targeted therapy is best illustrated by advances in the management of haematological malignancy. In myeloid diseases we have seen dramatic improvements in the overall survival and quality of life for patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia treated with ABL and Src/ABL kinase inhibitors and we are poised to discover whether JAK2 inhibitors may offer similar benefit in myeloproliferative diseases. For acute myeloid leukaemia, the introduction of ATRA and myelotarg have had major impacts on the design of therapy regimens and many novel targeted agents, including farnesyl transferase, FLT3 and histone deacetylase inhibitors, are now in clinical trial. In lymphoid malignancies the highlight has been the introduction of rituximab, with significant improvements in the management of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. The last 10 years has experienced a rapidly expanding interest and acceptance that leukaemic stem cells, including an improved ability to target them, may hold the key to improved response and reduced relapse rates across both myeloid and lymphoid disease. We now eagerly anticipate an era in which a wealth of preclinical discoveries are progressed to the clinic.

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