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Blood Rev. 2013 Sep;27(5):209-16. doi: 10.1016/j.blre.2013.06.006. Epub 2013 Jul 18.

Immunotherapeutic strategies for relapse control in acute myeloid leukemia.

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Sahlgrenska Cancer Center, University of Gothenburg, Box 405, 40530 Gothenburg, Sweden.


Despite that the initial phases of chemotherapy induce disappearance of leukemic cells in many patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the prevention of life-threatening relapses in the post-remission phase remains a significant clinical challenge. Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation, which is available for a minority of patients, efficiently prevents recurrences of leukemia by inducing immune-mediated elimination of leukemic cells, and over the past decades, numerous immunotherapeutic protocols have been developed aiming to mimic the graft-versus-leukemia reaction for the prevention of relapse. Here we review past and present strategies for relapse control with focus on overcoming leukemia-related immunosuppression in AML. We envisage future treatment protocols, in which systemic immune activators, such as vaccines, dendritic cell-based therapies, engineered variants of IL-2, or IL-15, are combined with agents that counter immunosuppression mediated by, e.g., the PD/PDL interaction, CTLA-4, CD200, reactive oxygen species, IDO expression, CXCR4, or the KIR/class I interaction, based on characteristics of the prevailing malignant clone. This combinatorial approach may pave the way for individualized immunotherapy in AML.


Acute myeloid leukemia; Leukemia-related immunosuppression; Maintenance therapy

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