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Semin Hematol. 2014 Jul;51(3):219-27. doi: 10.1053/j.seminhematol.2014.05.008. Epub 2014 May 15.

Targeting BCL2 for the treatment of lymphoid malignancies.

Author information

1
The Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia; The Department of Clinical Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia; The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Parkville, Australia.
2
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Parkville, Australia; The Department of Medical Biology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.
3
The Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia; The Department of Clinical Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia; The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Parkville, Australia; The Department of Medical Biology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia. Electronic address: roberts@wehi.edu.au.

Abstract

The failure of apoptosis (programmed cell death) underpins the development of many tumors and often renders them resistant to cytotoxic therapies. In hematologic malignancies, this impairment of apoptosis is often caused by overexpression of the pro-survival protein BCL2. Because abnormally high levels of BCL2 sustain these tumors, there has been much interest in targeting BCL2 as a novel approach to treating various hematologic malignancies. One such approach is the development of BH3 mimetic compounds, small molecules that mimic the action of the BH3-only proteins, natural antagonists of BCL2 and its pro-survival relatives. These compounds act by restoring the ability of a cell to undergo apoptotic cell death. Some of them have shown very encouraging results in early-phase clinical trials that are currently underway, particularly in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and some non-Hodgkin lymphomas, diseases marked by BCL2 overexpression. In this review, we discuss the rationale behind targeting BCL2, highlight the recent findings from clinical trials, and pinpoint the next steps in the clinical development of this interesting and promising class of targeted agents, particularly for the treatment of lymphoid malignancies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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