AbstractOver the last decade, major advances have been made in the elucidation of mechanisms involved in leukemogenesis, and this is particularly true with regard to deregulated protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) activation. This progress had led to the development of small molecules that specifically inhibit the abnormally activated kinase. The first example of such targeted therapy is imatinib-mesylate, an inhibitor of the BCR-ABL fusion gene that is found in more than 90% of patients with Philadelphia positive (Ph+) chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and in 20-30% of those with Ph+ acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The excellent clinical results obtained with imatinib in CML have completely changed the therapeutic approach to this disease, and imatinib is now the gold standard for treatment of newly diagnosed CML. This has instigated a tremendous effort to develop targeted PTK therapy based on the presence of over 40 chromosomal translocations that lead to deregulation of 12 different PTK associated with various hematologic malignancies. That deregulated PTK are also involved in the pathogenesis of acute leukemia is underlined by the frequent occurrence of mutations leading to constitutive activation of the FLT3. Experimental as well as clinical evidence supports a model of acute leukemia based on the co-operation of constitutive active PTK with mutations of transcriptional regulators. Here we review the general impact of mutated PTK on the pathogenesis of various hematologic malignancies. We also discuss the development of new targeted therapies and strategies to circumvent the increasing problems related to the emergence of drug resistance by targeting downstream signaling mediators that are essential for transformation by deregulated PTK.
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Vol. 90 No. 7 (2005): July, 2005 : Articles
Ferrata Storti Foundation, Pavia, Italy
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