Targeted Molecular Therapies for the Treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

This article was originally published by Hematology Advisor 

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) presents as an accumulation of monoclonal, mature, CD5+ B-cells in secondary lymphatic organs where cancer cells engage in molecular and cellular interactions disrupting the adaptive immune response. Promising advances in therapy options for patients with CLL, targeting these molecular interactions, were discussed in a review published in The New England Journal of Medicine.1

Since the introduction of these novel therapeutics, the use of chemoimmunotherapy has drastically declined. “We have moved away from using chemotherapy for most patients, just over the last 5 years”, Jan Burger, MD, PhD, of the department of leukemia at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, told Hematology Advisor.

“We now have good alternatives to chemotherapy that, in the end, have better survival rates for our patients” Dr Burger, who is the author of the review paper, continued. “The reason why we were able to make this big step forward in treatment was to some extent [serendipitous]. These new kinase inhibitors became available at a time when there was more basic research which emphasized how important these molecules are in leukemia cells.”

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