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Cancer. 2015 Aug 15;121(16):2689-704. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29378. Epub 2015 Jun 10.

Immunotherapy in acute myeloid leukemia.

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Department of Medical Oncology, Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Despite the remarkable progress made in some leukemias such as CML and CLL, cytotoxic treatment for AML remains essentially unchanged over the last 4 decades. Several lines of evidence, including the graft versus leukemia effect associated with allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), suggest that immunotherapy is an active modality in AML. Given the lack of progress for chemotherapy in this disease, many novel immunologic treatment approaches have been explored. The goals of non-transplant-based immune approaches have largely consisted of the stimulation or restoration of endogenous immune responses or the targeting of specific tumor antigens by immune cells. These strategies have been associated with less toxicity than allogeneic HSCT but typically have inferior efficacy. Allogeneic HSCT exploits major and minor histocompatibility differences between the donor and recipient in order to recognize and eradicate malignancy. With the recognition that the immune system itself provides a basis for treating AML, immunotherapy continues to be an attractive modality to exploit in the treatment of this disease.


acute myeloid leukemia; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; immunotherapy; monoclonal antibody therapy with or without toxins; vaccines

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