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Curr Oncol Rep. 2012 Oct;14(5):387-94. doi: 10.1007/s11912-012-0247-7.

Philadelphia-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia: current treatment options.

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The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Unit 428, Houston, TX, 77007, USA.


The Philadelphia chromosome (Ph), t(9;22), is seen in about 20 % to 30 % of adults diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It has been associated with poorer prognosis compared with Ph-negative ALL. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) targeting the BCR-ABL oncogenic protein from this translocation have been incorporated into treatment regimens used to treat patients with Ph-positive ALL. Imatinib has been the most widely used TKI with several published trials showing it produced better outcomes when combined with chemotherapy. Dasatinib, a more potent inhibitor than imatinib, has also been evaluated with promising results. However, relapses still occur at a high rate, and allogeneic stem cell transplant is considered, so far, a better curative option in first remission. Additional strategies have also included incorporation of TKIs in the post-transplant setting and the use of newer third generation TKIs. This review provides an update on emerging therapies for adults with Ph-positive ALL.

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