Purpose of review
This review discusses the rationale, efficacy, and toxicity of a variety of immune approaches being evaluated in the therapy of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) including naked and conjugated monoclonal antibodies
, bispecific T-cell engager antibodies, and immune checkpoint blockade via antibodies targeting cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed-death 1 (PD-1).
The stellar success of immune therapies that harness the power of T cells in solid tumors and an improved understanding of the immune system in patients with hematologic malignancies have resulted in major efforts to develop immune therapies for the treatment of patients with AML. Monoclonal antibodies
in AML therapy include naked antibodies against AML surface antigens such as CD33 (e.g. lintuzumab) or CD38 (e.g. daratumumab), antibodies conjugated to toxins in various anti-CD33 (gemtuzumab ozogamicin, SGN33A, IMGN779) and anti-CD123 (SL-401, SGN-CD123A) formulations, and antibodies conjugated to radioactive particles such as 131
I or 225
Ac-labeled anti-CD33 or anti-CD45 antibodies. Additional antigenic targets of interest in AML include CLL1, CD38, CD25, TIM3, FLT3, and others. Approaches to harness the body's own T cells against AML include antibodies that recruit and induce cytotoxicity of tumor cells by T cells (bispecific T-cell engager [BiTE] such as CD33 x CD3 (e.g. AMG 330) or CD123 x CD3 (e.g. flotetuzumab, JNJ-63709178) or antibodies that block immune checkpoint receptors CTLA4 (e.g. ipilimumab) or PD1/PD-L1 (e.g. nivolumab, pembrolizumab, avelumab) on T cells, unleashing the patients’ T cells against leukemic cells.
The ongoing trials and well designed correlative interrogation of the immune system in patients treated on such trials will further enhance our understanding and clinical application of immune therapies as single-agent and combination approaches for the treatment of AML.