Novel Agents Change the Treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Christina T. Loguidice
Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Mark R. Litzow, MD

Mark R. Litzow, MD
Significant advances continue to improve the outcome for patients aged 40 years and older with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). During an OncLive Peer Exchange® moderated by Mark R. Litzow, MD, a panel of experts discussed the latest data on several novel agents for ALL and provided insights on how to align these treatments in challenging settings.

However, patients aged 60 years or older with ALL continue to have poor survival rates, and there is a gray area for how to treat patients aged 40 to 60 years.

Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors in Frontline Ph+ ALL

From 20% to 30% of adult patients have Philadelphia chromosome–positive (Ph+) ALL, which has been associated with a poorer prognosis than Philadelphia chromosome–negative (Ph-) ALL.3 “The game changers in the treatment of this subtype of ALL have been the tyrosine kinase inhibitors [TKIs],” Litzow said. “Certainly, imatinib [Gleevec] has been the first agent that was tested in this subset of patients, but most of the tyrosine kinase inhibitors have now been tested in 1 form or another.” The panelists noted that more potent TKIs, such as dasatinib (Sprycel) and ponatinib (Iclusig), are now preferred over imatinib because of their superior response rates.
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