For Ph-like acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) may be effective

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According to findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research special conference Hematologic Malignancies: Translating Discoveries to Novel Therapies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) may be effective for the treatment of children and young adults with Philadelphia chromosome (Ph)-like acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Kathryn Roberts, PhD, postdoctoral research associate at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and her colleagues recently described a type of B-cell ALL characterized by tyrosine kinase mutations associated with poor outcomes. This subtype of ALL is termed Ph-like ALL. The researchers introduced genetic mutations to tyrosine kinases in normal mouse blood cells and found that the cells developed Ph-like ALL. Then, the researchers grew human Ph-like ALL tumors in mice and treated them with dasatinib, a TKI, and observed decreased tumor burden in the mice. Furthermore, they found that the signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) signaling pathway associated with the genetic alterations involving tyrosine kinases was suppressed.

The researchers suggest that other TKIs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), such as crizotinib, imatinib, and ruxolitinib, could possibly be used to treat children and young adults with Ph-like ALL.

acute lymphoblastic leukemia
TKIs may be effective for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) may improve treatment outcome for children and young adults with Ph-like acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph-like ALL), a disease with dismal prognosis, according to data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research special conference Hematologic Malignancies: Translating Discoveries to Novel Therapies, held Sept. 20-23.

"We recently described a subtype of B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia with very poor outcome that is characterized by genetic alterations involving tyrosine kinases, termed Ph-like ALL," said Kathryn Roberts, PhD, postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Pathology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. "We wanted to examine whether these alterations contribute to the development of Ph-like ALL, and determine if they could be targeted with tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

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