Current Hematologic Malignancy Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 148–156

Novel therapies for relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia


  • Amber Fullmer
  • Susan O’Brien
  • Hagop Kantarjian
    • Department of LeukemiaThe University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

DOI: 10.1007/s11899-009-0021-6

Cite this article as:
Fullmer, A., O’Brien, S., Kantarjian, H. et al. Curr Hematol Malig Rep (2009) 4: 148. doi:10.1007/s11899-009-0021-6


The outcome of salvage therapy for relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) remains poor. Salvage therapy mimics regimens with activity in newly diagnosed ALL. Novel strategies under investigation as monotherapy or in combination with chemotherapy improve the treatment of relapsed disease. For some ALL subsets, specific therapies are indicated. The addition of targeted therapy in Philadelphia chromo some-positive ALL has improved responses in relapsed patients without resistance to available tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Nelarabine demonstrates activity as monotherapy in T-cell ALL and is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Clofarabine, a second-generation purine analogue approved in pediatric leukemia, has shown activity in adult acute leukemias including ALL and acute myeloid leukemia. The role of pegaspargase in adult ALL requires further investigation. The benefit of matched related-donor allogeneic stem cell transplantation is significant for standard-risk ALL but not for high-risk ALL. Development of new drugs and agents tailored to subset-specific cytogenetic-molecular characteristics remains vital to success in treating adult ALL.

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© Current Medicine Group, LLC 2009