Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is a unique subtype of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Its exclusivity is reflected by both the clinical course and the management of patients. This article discusses 2 aspects of the unique management of patients with APL: the role of maintenance therapy and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) monitoring. Despite common practice, the efficacy of maintenance therapy in APL is still debated, and the introduction of arsenic trioxide into frontline protocols makes this debate even more challenging. This article also attempts to clarify details regarding the type and duration of maintenance treatment. The presence of residual leukemic cells, seen using PCR analysis of the PML/RARα fusion gene product, in patients who have experienced a complete response has been shown to have a high correlation with subsequent relapse. This fact led to the broad use of PCR monitoring techniques in patients with APL. Practicing clinicians face several questions with regard to monitoring, such as what is the best technique for monitoring patients with APL, who can benefit the most from these tests, what are the best time points, and for how long is monitoring recommended. These questions are addressed in this article.
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Chezi Ganzel, Dan Douer, and Martin S. Tallman
Joseph C. Alvarnas, Patrick A. Brown, Patricia Aoun, Karen Kuhn Ballen, Naresh Bellam, William Blum, Michael W. Boyer, Hetty E. Carraway, Peter F. Coccia, Steven E. Coutre, Jennifer Cultrera, Lloyd E. Damon, Daniel J. DeAngelo, Dan Douer, Haydar Frangoul, Olga Frankfurt, Salil Goorha, Michael M. Millenson, Susan O'Brien, Stephen H. Petersdorf, Arati V. Rao, Stephanie Terezakis, Geoffrey Uy, Meir Wetzler, Andrew D. Zelenetz, Maoko Naganuma, and Kristina M. Gregory
The inaugural NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) were developed as a result of meetings convened by a multi-disciplinary panel of experts in 2011. These NCCN Guidelines provide recommendations on the diagnostic evaluation and workup for ALL, risk assessment, risk-stratified treatment approaches based on the Philadelphia chromosome status and age (adults vs. adolescents/young adults), assessment of minimal residual disease, and supportive care considerations. It is recommended that patients be treated at specialized centers with expertise in the management of ALL.
Joseph C. Alvarnas, Patrick A. Brown, Patricia Aoun, Karen Kuhn Ballen, Stefan K. Barta, Uma Borate, Michael W. Boyer, Patrick W. Burke, Ryan Cassaday, Januario E. Castro, Peter F. Coccia, Steven E. Coutre, Lloyd E. Damon, Daniel J. DeAngelo, Dan Douer, Olga Frankfurt, John P. Greer, Robert A. Johnson, Hagop M. Kantarjian, Rebecca B. Klisovic, Gary Kupfer, Mark Litzow, Arthur Liu, Arati V. Rao, Bijal Shah, Geoffrey L. Uy, Eunice S. Wang, Andrew D. Zelenetz, Kristina Gregory, and Courtney Smith
Treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) continues to advance, as evidenced by the improved risk stratification of patients and development of newer treatment options. Identification of ALL subtypes based on immunophenotyping and cytogenetic and molecular markers has resulted in the inclusion of Philadelphia-like ALL and early T-cell precursor ALL as subtypes that affect prognosis. Identification of Ikaros mutations has also emerged as a prognostic factor. In addition to improved prognostication, treatment options for patients with ALL have expanded, particularly with regard to relapsed/refractory ALL. Continued development of second-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors and the emergence of immunotherapy, including blinatumomab and chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, have improved survival. Furthermore, incorporation of minimal residual disease (MRD) monitoring has shown insight into patient outcomes and may lead to treatment modification or alternative treatment strategies in select populations. This excerpt focuses on the sections of the ALL guidelines specific to clinical presentation and diagnosis, treatment of relapsed/refractory ALL, and incorporation of MRD monitoring. To view the most recent complete version of these guidelines, visit NCCN.org.