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New strategies for relapsed acute myeloid leukemia: fertile ground for translational research

Dinner, Shira N.; Giles, Francis J.; Altman, Jessica K.

Current Opinion in Hematology: March 2014 - Volume 21 - Issue 2 - p 79–86
doi: 10.1097/MOH.0000000000000018
MYELOID DISEASE: Edited by Martin S. Tallman

Purpose of review: Although frontline treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) achieves high remission rates, approximately 75–80% of patients will either not respond to or relapse after initial therapy. Some patients, generally those who are younger, can be successfully salvaged with second-line chemotherapy followed by allogeneic stem cell transplantation. There is a great need for novel therapies in AML.

Recent findings: Advances in molecular technology recently identified recurrent mutations including mutations of DNMT3A, IDH1/2, and TET2. These mutations represent a major advance in the understanding of leukemogenesis and prognosis, and have enabled the development of targeted therapies.

Summary: Improved knowledge of the molecular pathogenesis of AML has allowed development of therapies targeting epigenetic modulation, intracellular signaling pathways, prosurvival proteins, and the tumor microenvironment.

Division of Hematology/Oncology and Northwestern Medicine Developmental Therapeutics Institute, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University-Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Correspondence to Shira Dinner, MD, 676 N. St. Clair St., Suite 850, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA. Tel: +1 312 695 2120; e-mail:

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins