Abstract: Adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) represents an ideal model for targeted therapy because of intrinsic chemo-resistance of ATL cells and the presence of two well identified targets: the HTLV-I retrovirus and the viral oncoprotein Tax. The combination of zidovudine (AZT) and interferon-alpha (IFN) has a dramatic impact on survival of ATL patients. Although the mechanism of action remains unclear, arguments in favor or against a direct antiviral effect will be discussed. Yet, most patients relapse and alternative therapies are mandatory. IFN and arsenic trioxide induce Tax proteolysis, synergize to induce apoptosis in ATL cells and cure Tax-driven ATL in mice through specific targeting of leukemia initiating cell activity. These results provide a biological basis for the clinical success of arsenic/IFN/AZT therapy in ATL patients and suggest that both extinction of viral replication (AZT) and Tax degradation (arsenic/IFN) are needed to cure ATL.
Keywords: adult T cell leukemia; HTLV-I; Tax; AZT; arsenic trioxide; interferon
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Nasr, R.; Hajj, H.E.; Kfoury, Y.; Thé, H.; Hermine, O.; Bazarbachi, A. Controversies in Targeted Therapy of Adult T Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma: ON Target or OFF Target Effects? Viruses 2011, 3, 750-769.
Nasr R, Hajj HE, Kfoury Y, Thé H, Hermine O, Bazarbachi A. Controversies in Targeted Therapy of Adult T Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma: ON Target or OFF Target Effects? Viruses. 2011; 3(6):750-769.
Nasr, Rihab; Hajj, Hiba El; Kfoury, Youmna; Thé, Hugues de; Hermine, Olivier; Bazarbachi, Ali. 2011. "Controversies in Targeted Therapy of Adult T Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma: ON Target or OFF Target Effects?" Viruses 3, no. 6: 750-769.