Special Issue "Acute Myeloid Leukemia"

A special issue of Cancers (ISSN 2072-6694).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Adriano Venditti
Website
Guest Editor
Hematology, Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, “Tor Vergata” University of Rome, 00133 Roma, Italy
Interests: AML; HSCT; MRD; novel agents; Guidelines; ELN; genetics; cytogenetics; MDS; chemotherapy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Notwithstanding crucial advances in the understanding of blood cancers’ biology and pathogenesis, the standard therapeutic approach to acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has not changed meaningfully in the last four decades. However, although the “7+3”-based regimen remains the backbone of upfront AML treatment in fit patients, the recent approval of several promising drugs has paved the way for the opportunity of delivering targeted treatments to patients with specific molecular subtypes. Actually, several clinical trials demonstrated that these targeted molecules, as single agents or in combination with high- or low-dose chemotherapy, are well tolerated while maintaining or increasing their efficacy in terms of overall and event-free survival. The role of these new agents, alone or in association with low-dose chemotherapy, appears particularly promising in special categories such as those of older patients not eligible for intensive approaches and the elderly. Finally, some of the new agents are currently under investigation as maintenance drugs in the post-bone marrow transplant setting, as an attempt to improve post-transplant outcomes and reduce the rates of relapse. This application sounds particularly attractive to capture situations of pre-transplant persistence of “measurable residual disease”. In the present Special Issue, we review how these new therapies are expected to change the therapeutic landscape of AML, as a step towards the right direction to deal with a group of “very-difficult-to-treat” diseases.

Dr. Adriano Venditti
Guest Editor

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Published Papers (20 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
PML/RARa Interferes with NRF2 Transcriptional Activity Increasing the Sensitivity to Ascorbate of Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia Cells
Cancers 2020, 12(1), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12010095 - 30 Dec 2019
Abstract
NRF2 (NF-E2 p45-related factor 2) orchestrates cellular adaptive responses to stress. Its quantity and subcellular location is controlled through a complex network and its activity increases during redox perturbation, inflammation, growth factor stimulation, and energy fluxes. Even before all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) treatment [...] Read more.
NRF2 (NF-E2 p45-related factor 2) orchestrates cellular adaptive responses to stress. Its quantity and subcellular location is controlled through a complex network and its activity increases during redox perturbation, inflammation, growth factor stimulation, and energy fluxes. Even before all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) treatment era it was a common experience that acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) cells are highly sensitive to first line chemotherapy. Since we demonstrated how high doses of ascorbate (ASC) preferentially kill leukemic blast cells from APL patients, we aimed to define the underlying mechanism and found that promyelocytic leukemia/retinoic acid receptor α (PML/RARa) inhibits NRF2 function, impedes its transfer to the nucleus and enhances its degradation in the cytoplasm. Such loss of NRF2 function alters cell metabolism, demarcating APL tissue from both normal promyelocytes and other acute myeloide leukemia (AML) blast cells. Resistance to ATRA/arsenic trioxide (ATO) treatment is rare but grave and the metabolically-oriented treatment with high doses of ASC, which is highly effective on APL cells and harmless on normal hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), could be of use in preventing clonal evolution and in rescuing APL-resistant patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessArticle
Rationale for a Combination Therapy Consisting of MCL1- and MEK-Inhibitors in Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1779; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111779 - 12 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Amplification and overexpression of the myeloid cell leukemia differentiation protein MCL1 and the murine double minute protein MDM2 have been reported in various human tumors as well as hematological malignancies including acute myeloid leukemia (AML). While MCL1 is an anti-apoptotic member of the [...] Read more.
Amplification and overexpression of the myeloid cell leukemia differentiation protein MCL1 and the murine double minute protein MDM2 have been reported in various human tumors as well as hematological malignancies including acute myeloid leukemia (AML). While MCL1 is an anti-apoptotic member of the BCL-2 family proteins, MDM2 is an important cellular inhibitor of the p53 tumor suppressor. The key oncogene in AML is the FLT3 growth factor receptor gene. FLT3 signaling pathways including the MAPK cascade (RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK) are highly active in AML cells, leading to induced protein translation and cell proliferation as well as reduced apoptosis. Consequently, combined administration of MCL1-, MDM2-, and MEK-inhibitors may present a promising anti-leukemic treatment strategy. Here, we assessed the MCL1-antagonist S63845, the MDM2-inhibitor HDM201, and the MEK1/2-inhibitor trametinib as single agents and in combination in a variety of AML cell lines and mononuclear cells isolated from patients with hematological malignancies centered on myeloid leukemia, some lymphatic leukemia, as well as some lymphomas, for their ability to induce apoptosis and cell death. We observed a considerably varying anti-leukemic efficacy of the MCL1-inhibitor S63845 and the MEK1/2-inhibitor trametinib. Hematological cells with susceptibility to the single compounds as well as to the combined treatment were defined by elevated MCL1- and MEK-protein levels, independent of the mutational status of FLT3 and TP53. Our data indicate that hematological cells with elevated MCL1- and MEK-protein levels are most sensitive to the combined treatment with S63845 and trametinib. MCL1- and MEK1/2-protein expression may be valid biomarkers for treatment response to S63845 and trametinib, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Arpp19 Promotes Myc and Cip2a Expression and Associates with Patient Relapse in Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1774; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111774 - 11 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Disease relapse from standard chemotherapy in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is poorly understood. The importance of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) as an AML tumor suppressor is emerging. Therefore, here, we examined the potential role of endogenous PP2A inhibitor proteins as biomarkers predicting AML [...] Read more.
Disease relapse from standard chemotherapy in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is poorly understood. The importance of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) as an AML tumor suppressor is emerging. Therefore, here, we examined the potential role of endogenous PP2A inhibitor proteins as biomarkers predicting AML relapse in a standard patient population by using three independent patient materials: cohort1 (n = 80), cohort2 (n = 48) and The Cancer Genome Atlas Acute Myeloid Leukemia (TCGA LAML) dataset (n = 160). Out of the examined PP2A inhibitors (CIP2A, SET, PME1, ARPP19 and TIPRL), expression of ARPP19 mRNA was found to be independent of the current AML risk classification. Functionally, ARPP19 promoted AML cell viability and expression of oncoproteins MYC, CDK1, and CIP2A. Clinically, ARPP19 mRNA expression was significantly lower at diagnosis (p = 0.035) in patients whose disease did not relapse after standard chemotherapy. ARPP19 was an independent predictor for relapse both in univariable (p = 0.007) and in multivariable analyses (p = 0.0001) and gave additive information to EVI1 expression and risk group status (additive effect, p = 0.005). Low ARPP19 expression was also associated with better patient outcome in the TCGA LAML cohort (p = 0.019). In addition, in matched patient samples from diagnosis, remission and relapse phases, ARPP19 expression was associated with disease activity (p = 0.034), indicating its potential usefulness as a minimal residual disease (MRD) marker. Together, these data demonstrate the oncogenic function of ARPP19 in AML and its risk group independent role in predicting AML patient relapse tendency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessArticle
The Actin Binding Protein Plastin-3 Is Involved in the Pathogenesis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1663; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111663 - 26 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Leukemia-initiating cells reside within the bone marrow in specialized niches where they undergo complex interactions with their surrounding stromal cells. We have identified the actin-binding protein Plastin-3 (PLS3) as potential player within the leukemic bone marrow niche and investigated its functional role in [...] Read more.
Leukemia-initiating cells reside within the bone marrow in specialized niches where they undergo complex interactions with their surrounding stromal cells. We have identified the actin-binding protein Plastin-3 (PLS3) as potential player within the leukemic bone marrow niche and investigated its functional role in acute myeloid leukemia. High expression of PLS3 was associated with a poor overall and event-free survival for AML patients. These findings were supported by functional in vitro and in vivo experiments. AML cells with a PLS3 knockdown showed significantly reduced colony numbers in vitro while the PLS3 overexpression variants resulted in significantly enhanced colony numbers compared to their respective controls. Furthermore, the survival of NSG mice transplanted with the PLS3 knockdown cells showed a significantly prolonged survival in comparison to mice transplanted with the control AML cells. Further studies should focus on the underlying leukemia-promoting mechanisms and investigate PLS3 as therapeutic target. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessArticle
Molecular Detection of Minimal Residual Disease before Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation Predicts a High Incidence of Early Relapse in Adult Patients with NPM1 Positive Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Cancers 2019, 11(10), 1455; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11101455 - 28 Sep 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
We analyzed the impact of alloHSCT in a single center cohort of 89 newly diagnosed NPM1mut AML patients, consecutively treated according to the Northern Italy Leukemia Group protocol 02/06 [NCT00495287]. After two consolidation cycles, the detection of measurable residual disease (MRD) by [...] Read more.
We analyzed the impact of alloHSCT in a single center cohort of 89 newly diagnosed NPM1mut AML patients, consecutively treated according to the Northern Italy Leukemia Group protocol 02/06 [NCT00495287]. After two consolidation cycles, the detection of measurable residual disease (MRD) by RQ-PCR was strongly associated with an inferior three-year overall survival (OS, 45% versus 84%, p = 0.001) and disease-free survival (DFS, 44% versus 76%, p = 0.006). In MRD-negative patients, post-remissional consolidation with alloHSCT did not provide a significant additional benefit over a conventional chemotherapy in terms of overall survival [OS, 89% (95% CI 71–100%) versus 81% (95% CI 64–100%), p = 0.59] and disease-free survival [DFS, 80% (95% CI 59–100%) versus 75% (95% CI 56–99%), p = 0.87]. On the contrary, in patients with persistent MRD positivity, the three-year OS and DFS were improved in patients receiving an alloHSCT compared to those allocated to conventional chemotherapy (OS, 52% versus 31%, p = 0.45 and DFS, 50% versus 17%, p = 0.31, respectively). However, in this group of patients, the benefit of alloHSCT was still hampered by a high incidence of leukemia relapse during the first year after transplantation (43%, 95% CI 25–60%). Consolidative alloHSCT improves outcomes compared to standard chemotherapy in patients with persistent NPM1mut MRD positivity, but in these high-risk patients, the significant incidence of leukemia relapse must be tackled by post-transplant preemptive treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessArticle
Prognostic Value of Genetic Alterations in Elderly Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia: A Single Institution Experience
Cancers 2019, 11(4), 570; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11040570 - 22 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Although the outcome in younger adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has improved, the benefit associated with standard intensive chemotherapy in older patients remains debatable. In this study, we investigated the incidence and the prognostic significance of genetic characteristics according to treatment intensity [...] Read more.
Although the outcome in younger adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has improved, the benefit associated with standard intensive chemotherapy in older patients remains debatable. In this study, we investigated the incidence and the prognostic significance of genetic characteristics according to treatment intensity in patients aged 60 years or older. On the 495 patients of our cohort, DNMT3A R882 (25.2%), NPM1 (23.7%) and FLT3-ITD (16.8%) were the most frequent molecular mutations found at diagnosis. In this elderly population, intensive chemotherapy seemed to be a suitable option in terms of early death and survival, except for normal karyotype (NK) NPM1−FLT3-ITD+ patients and those aged over 70 within the adverse cytogenetic/molecular risk group. The FLT3-ITD mutation was systematically associated with an unfavorable outcome, independently of the ratio. NK NPM1+/FLT3-TKD+ genotype tends to confer a good prognosis in patients treated intensively. Regarding minimal residual disease prognostic value, overall survival was significantly better for patients achieving a 4 log NPM1 reduction (median OS: 24.4 vs. 12.8 months, p = 0.013) but did not reach statistical significance for progression free survival. This retrospective study highlights that intensive chemotherapy may not be the most appropriate option for each elderly patient and that molecular markers may help treatment intensity decision-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Oral Manifestations and Complications in Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1634; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061634 - 19 Jun 2020
Abstract
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous group of diseases, whose classification is based on lineage-commitment and genetics. Although rare in childhood, it is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults, accounting for 80% of all cases in this age group. [...] Read more.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous group of diseases, whose classification is based on lineage-commitment and genetics. Although rare in childhood, it is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults, accounting for 80% of all cases in this age group. The prognosis of this disease remains poor (especially in childhood, as compared to acute lymphoblastic leukemia); however, overall survival has significantly improved over the past 30 years. The health of the oral cavity is a remarkable reflection of the systemic status of an individual. Identification of the signs and symptoms of oral lesions can act as a warning sign of hidden and serious systemic involvement. Moreover, they may be the presenting feature of acute leukemia and provide important diagnostic indicators. Primary oral alterations are identified in up to 90% of cases of acute myeloid leukemia and consist of petechiae, spontaneous bleeding, mucosal ulceration, gingival enlargement with or without necrosis, infections, hemorrhagic bullae on the tongue, and cracked lips. Poor oral hygiene is a well-known risk factor for local and systemic infectious complications. Oro-dental complications due to AML treatment can affect the teeth, oral mucosa, soft and bone tissue, and contribute to opportunistic infections, dental decay, and enamel discoloration. The treatment of acute myeloid leukemia is still associated with high mortality and morbidity. The management is multimodal, involving aggressive multidrug chemotherapy and, in most cases, allogenic bone marrow transplantation. Periodontal and dental treatment for patients with leukemia should always be planned and concerted with hematologists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessReview
From Bench to Bedside and Beyond: Therapeutic Scenario in Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Cancers 2020, 12(2), 357; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12020357 - 04 Feb 2020
Abstract
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous group of clonal disorders characterized by abnormal proliferation of undifferentiated myeloid progenitors, impaired hematopoiesis, and variable response to therapy. To date, only about 30% of adult patients with AML become long-term survivors and relapse and/or disease [...] Read more.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous group of clonal disorders characterized by abnormal proliferation of undifferentiated myeloid progenitors, impaired hematopoiesis, and variable response to therapy. To date, only about 30% of adult patients with AML become long-term survivors and relapse and/or disease refractoriness are the major cause of treatment failure. Thus, this is an urgent unmet clinical need and new drugs are envisaged in order to ameliorate disease survival outcomes. Here, we review the latest therapeutic approaches (investigational and approved agents) for AML treatment. A specific focus will be given to molecularly targeted therapies for AML as a representation of possible agents for precision medicine. We will discuss experimental and preclinical data for FLT3, IDH1, BCL-2, Hedgehog pathway inhibitors, and epitherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessReview
Therapeutic Choice in Older Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia: A Matter of Fitness
Cancers 2020, 12(1), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12010120 - 02 Jan 2020
Abstract
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), with an incidence increasing with age, is the most common acute leukemia in adults. Concurrent comorbidities, mild to severe organ dysfunctions, and low performance status (PS) are frequently found in older patients at the onset, conditioning treatment choice and [...] Read more.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), with an incidence increasing with age, is the most common acute leukemia in adults. Concurrent comorbidities, mild to severe organ dysfunctions, and low performance status (PS) are frequently found in older patients at the onset, conditioning treatment choice and crucially influencing the outcome. Although anthracyclines plus cytarabine-based chemotherapy, also called “7 + 3” regimen, remains the standard of care in young adults, its use in patients older than 65 years should be reserved to selected cases because of higher incidence of toxicity. These adverse features of AML in the elderly underline the importance of a careful patient assessment at diagnosis as a critical tool in the decision-making process of treatment choice. In this review, we will describe selected recently approved drugs as well as examine prognostic algorithms that may be helpful to assign treatment in elderly patients properly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
Open AccessReview
Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Aging and Epigenetics
Cancers 2020, 12(1), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12010103 - 31 Dec 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive hematological disorder mainly affecting people of older age. AML initiation is primarily attributed to mutations in crucial cellular regulators such as epigenetic factors, transcription factors, and signaling genes. AML’s aggressiveness and responsiveness to treatment depends on [...] Read more.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive hematological disorder mainly affecting people of older age. AML initiation is primarily attributed to mutations in crucial cellular regulators such as epigenetic factors, transcription factors, and signaling genes. AML’s aggressiveness and responsiveness to treatment depends on the specific cell type where leukemia first arose. Aged hematopoietic cells are often genetically and/or epigenetically altered and, therefore, present with a completely different cellular context for AML development compared to young cells. In this review, we summarize key aspects of AML development, and we focus, in particular, on the contribution of cellular aging to leukemogenesis and on current treatment options for elderly AML patients. Hematological disorders and leukemia grow exponentially with age. So far, with conventional induction therapy, many elderly patients experience a very poor overall survival rate requiring substantial social and medical costs during the relatively few remaining months of life. The global population’s age is increasing rapidly without an acceptable equal growth in therapeutic management of AML in the elderly; this is in sharp contrast to the increase in successful therapies for leukemia in younger patients. Therefore, a focus on the understanding of the biology of aging in the hematopoietic system, the development of appropriate research models, and new therapeutic approaches are urged. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessReview
Immune Escape after Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT): From Mechanisms to Novel Therapies
Cancers 2020, 12(1), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12010069 - 25 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults. Recent advances in understanding its molecular basis have opened the way to new therapeutic strategies, including targeted therapies. However, despite an improvement in prognosis it has been documented in [...] Read more.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults. Recent advances in understanding its molecular basis have opened the way to new therapeutic strategies, including targeted therapies. However, despite an improvement in prognosis it has been documented in recent years (especially in younger patients) that allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) remains the only curative treatment in AML and the first therapeutic option for high-risk patients. After allo-HSCT, relapse is still a major complication, and is observed in about 50% of patients. Current evidence suggests that relapse is not due to clonal evolution, but instead to the ability of the AML cell population to escape immune control by a variety of mechanisms including the altered expression of HLA-molecules, production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, relevant metabolic changes and expression of immune checkpoint (ICP) inhibitors capable of “switching-off” the immune response against leukemic cells. Here, we review the main mechanisms of immune escape and identify potential strategies to overcome these mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessReview
Is There Still a Role for Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation for the Treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia?
Cancers 2020, 12(1), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12010059 - 24 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
After intensive induction chemotherapy and complete remission achievement, patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are candidates to receive either high-dose cytarabine-based regimens, or autologous (ASCT) or allogeneic (allo-SCT) hematopoietic stem cell transplantations as consolidation treatment. Pretreatment risk classification represents a determinant key of [...] Read more.
After intensive induction chemotherapy and complete remission achievement, patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are candidates to receive either high-dose cytarabine-based regimens, or autologous (ASCT) or allogeneic (allo-SCT) hematopoietic stem cell transplantations as consolidation treatment. Pretreatment risk classification represents a determinant key of type and intensity of post-remission therapy. Current evidence indicates that allo-SCT represents the treatment of choice for high and intermediate risk patients if clinically eligible, and its use is favored by increasing availability of unrelated or haploidentical donors. On the contrary, the adoption of ASCT is progressively declining, although numerous studies indicate that in favorable risk AML the relapse rate is lower after ASCT than chemotherapy. In addition, the burden of supportive therapy and hospitalization favors ASCT. In this review, we summarize current indications (if any) to ASCT on the basis of molecular genetics at diagnosis and minimal residual disease evaluation after induction/consolidation phase. Finally, we critically discuss the role of ASCT in older patients with AML and acute promyelocytic leukemia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessReview
Core Binding Factor Leukemia: Chromatin Remodeling Moves Towards Oncogenic Transcription
Cancers 2019, 11(12), 1973; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11121973 - 07 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the most common acute leukemia in adults, is a heterogeneous malignant clonal disorder arising from multipotent hematopoietic progenitor cells characterized by genetic and concerted epigenetic aberrations. Core binding factor-Leukemia (CBFL) is characterized by the recurrent reciprocal translocations t(8;21)(q22;q22) or [...] Read more.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the most common acute leukemia in adults, is a heterogeneous malignant clonal disorder arising from multipotent hematopoietic progenitor cells characterized by genetic and concerted epigenetic aberrations. Core binding factor-Leukemia (CBFL) is characterized by the recurrent reciprocal translocations t(8;21)(q22;q22) or inv(16)(p13;q22) that, expressing the distinctive RUNX1-RUNX1T1 (also known as Acute myeloid leukemia1-eight twenty-one, AML1-ETO or RUNX1/ETO) or CBFB-MYH11 (also known as CBFβ-SMMHC) translocation product respectively, disrupt the essential hematopoietic function of the CBF. In the past decade, remarkable progress has been achieved in understanding the structure, three-dimensional (3D) chromosomal topology, and disease-inducing genetic and epigenetic abnormalities of the fusion proteins that arise from disruption of the CBF subunit alpha and beta genes. Although CBFLs have a relatively good prognosis compared to other leukemia subtypes, 40–50% of patients still relapse, requiring intensive chemotherapy and allogenic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT). To provide a rationale for the CBFL-associated altered hematopoietic development, in this review, we summarize the current understanding on the various molecular mechanisms, including dysregulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling as an early event that triggers the translocations, playing a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of CBFL. Translation of these findings into the clinical setting is just beginning by improvement in risk stratification, MRD assessment, and development of targeted therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessReview
Retinoic Acid Receptors in Acute Myeloid Leukemia Therapy
Cancers 2019, 11(12), 1915; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11121915 - 01 Dec 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Retinoic acid (RA) signaling pathways regulate fundamental biological processes, such as cell proliferation, development, differentiation, and apoptosis. Retinoid receptors (RARs and RXRs) are ligand-dependent transcription factors. All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) is the principal endogenous ligand for the retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARA) and [...] Read more.
Retinoic acid (RA) signaling pathways regulate fundamental biological processes, such as cell proliferation, development, differentiation, and apoptosis. Retinoid receptors (RARs and RXRs) are ligand-dependent transcription factors. All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) is the principal endogenous ligand for the retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARA) and is produced by the enzymatic oxidation of dietary vitamin A, whose deficiency is associated with several pathological conditions. Differentiation therapy using ATRA revolutionized the outcome of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), although attempts to replicate these results in other cancer types have been met with more modest results. A better knowledge of RA signaling in different leukemia contexts is required to improve initial designs. Here, we will review the RA signaling pathway in normal and malignant hematopoiesis, and will discuss the advantages and the limitations related to retinoid therapy in acute myeloid leukemia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessReview
Mutations in Splicing Factor Genes in Myeloid Malignancies: Significance and Impact on Clinical Features
Cancers 2019, 11(12), 1844; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11121844 - 22 Nov 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Components of the pre-messenger RNA splicing machinery are frequently mutated in myeloid malignancies. Mutations in LUC7L2, PRPF8, SF3B1, SRSF2, U2AF1, and ZRSR2 genes occur at various frequencies ranging between 40% and 85% in different subtypes of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and [...] Read more.
Components of the pre-messenger RNA splicing machinery are frequently mutated in myeloid malignancies. Mutations in LUC7L2, PRPF8, SF3B1, SRSF2, U2AF1, and ZRSR2 genes occur at various frequencies ranging between 40% and 85% in different subtypes of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and 5% and 10% of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). In some instances, splicing factor (SF) mutations have provided diagnostic utility and information on clinical outcomes as exemplified by SF3B1 mutations associated with increased ring sideroblasts (RS) in MDS-RS or MDS/MPN-RS with thrombocytosis. SF3B1 mutations are associated with better survival outcomes, while SRSF2 mutations are associated with a shorter survival time and increased AML progression, and U2AF1 mutations with a lower remission rate and shorter survival time. Beside the presence of mutations, transcriptomics technologies have shown that one third of genes in AML patients are differentially expressed, leading to altered transcript stability, interruption of protein function, and improper translation compared to those of healthy individuals. The detection of SF mutations demonstrates the importance of splicing abnormalities in the hematopoiesis of MDS and AML patients given the fact that abnormal splicing regulates the function of several transcriptional factors (PU.1, RUNX1, etc.) crucial in hematopoietic function. This review provides a summary of the significance of the most frequently mutated SF genes in myeloid malignancies and an update on novel targeted therapies in experimental and clinical trial stages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessReview
Targeting Apoptotic Pathways in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1660; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111660 - 26 Oct 2019
Abstract
Acute Myeloid Leukaemia is a devastating disease that continues to have a poor outcome for the majority of patients. In recent years, however, a number of drugs have received FDA approval, following on from successful clinical trial results. This parallels the characterization of [...] Read more.
Acute Myeloid Leukaemia is a devastating disease that continues to have a poor outcome for the majority of patients. In recent years, however, a number of drugs have received FDA approval, following on from successful clinical trial results. This parallels the characterization of the molecular landscape of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) over the last decade, which has led to the development of drugs targeting newly identified recurring mutations. In addition, basic biological research into the pathobiology of AML has identified aberrant programmed cell death pathways in AML. Following on from successful outcomes in lymphoid malignancies, drugs targeting the B Cell Lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) family of anti-apoptotic proteins have been explored in AML. In this review, we will outline the preclinical and clinical work to date supporting the role of drugs targeting BCL-2, with Venetoclax being the most advanced to date. We will also highlight rationale combinations using Venetoclax, ongoing clinical trials and biomarkers of response identified from the early phase clinical trials performed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
Open AccessReview
Long Noncoding RNAs in Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Functional Characterization and Clinical Relevance
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1638; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111638 - 24 Oct 2019
Cited by 12
Abstract
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is the most common form of leukemia in adults with an incidence of 4.3 per 100,000 cases per year. Historically, the identification of genetic alterations in AML focused on protein-coding genes to provide biomarkers and to understand the molecular [...] Read more.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is the most common form of leukemia in adults with an incidence of 4.3 per 100,000 cases per year. Historically, the identification of genetic alterations in AML focused on protein-coding genes to provide biomarkers and to understand the molecular complexity of AML. Despite these findings and because of the heterogeneity of this disease, questions as to the molecular mechanisms underlying AML development and progression remained unsolved. Recently, transcriptome-wide profiling approaches have uncovered a large family of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). Larger than 200 nucleotides and with no apparent protein coding potential, lncRNAs could unveil a new set of players in AML development. Originally considered as dark matter, lncRNAs have critical roles to play in the different steps of gene expression and thus affect cellular homeostasis including proliferation, survival, differentiation, migration or genomic stability. Consequently, lncRNAs are found to be differentially expressed in tumors, notably in AML, and linked to the transformation of healthy cells into leukemic cells. In this review, we aim to summarize the knowledge concerning lncRNAs functions and implications in AML, with a particular emphasis on their prognostic and therapeutic potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessReview
Clinical Challenges and Consequences of Measurable Residual Disease in Non-APL Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1625; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111625 - 23 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The ability to detect residual levels of leukemic blasts (measurable residual disease, MRD) has already been integrated in the daily routine for treatment of patients with chronic myeloid and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a variety of mostly retrospective studies [...] Read more.
The ability to detect residual levels of leukemic blasts (measurable residual disease, MRD) has already been integrated in the daily routine for treatment of patients with chronic myeloid and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a variety of mostly retrospective studies have shown that individuals in AML remission who tested positive for MRD at specific time-points or had increasing MRD levels are at significantly higher risk of relapse and death compared to MRD-negative patients. However, these studies differ with respect to the “MRD-target”, time-point of MRD determination, material analyzed, and method applied. How this probably very valuable MRD information in individual patients may be adapted in the daily clinical routine, e.g., to separate patients who need more aggressive therapies from those who may be spared additional—potentially toxic—therapies is still a work-in-progress. With the exception of MRD assessment in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), the lack of randomized, prospective trials renders MRD-based decisions and clinical implications in AML a difficult task. As of today, we still do not have proof that early intervention in MRD-positive AML patients would improve outcomes, although this is very likely. In this article, we review the current knowledge on non-APL AML MRD assessment and possible clinical consequences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
Open AccessReview
Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia: Update on the Mechanisms of Leukemogenesis, Resistance and on Innovative Treatment Strategies
Cancers 2019, 11(10), 1591; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11101591 - 18 Oct 2019
Cited by 9
Abstract
This review highlights new findings that have deepened our understanding of the mechanisms of leukemogenesis, therapy and resistance in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Promyelocytic leukemia-retinoic acid receptor α (PML-RARa) sets the cellular landscape of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) by repressing the transcription of [...] Read more.
This review highlights new findings that have deepened our understanding of the mechanisms of leukemogenesis, therapy and resistance in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Promyelocytic leukemia-retinoic acid receptor α (PML-RARa) sets the cellular landscape of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) by repressing the transcription of RARa target genes and disrupting PML-NBs. The RAR receptors control the homeostasis of tissue growth, modeling and regeneration, and PML-NBs are involved in self-renewal of normal and cancer stem cells, DNA damage response, senescence and stress response. The additional somatic mutations in APL mainly involve FLT3, WT1, NRAS, KRAS, ARID1B and ARID1A genes. The treatment outcomes in patients with newly diagnosed APL improved dramatically since the advent of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and arsenic trioxide (ATO). ATRA activates the transcription of blocked genes and degrades PML-RARα, while ATO degrades PML-RARa by promoting apoptosis and has a pro-oxidant effect. The resistance to ATRA and ATO may derive from the mutations in the RARa ligand binding domain (LBD) and in the PML-B2 domain of PML-RARa, but such mutations cannot explain the majority of resistances experienced in the clinic, globally accounting for 5–10% of cases. Several studies are ongoing to unravel clonal evolution and resistance, suggesting the therapeutic potential of new retinoid molecules and combinatorial treatments of ATRA or ATO with different drugs acting through alternative mechanisms of action, which may lead to synergistic effects on growth control or the induction of apoptosis in APL cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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Open AccessReview
Quality of Response in Acute Myeloid Leukemia: The Role of Minimal Residual Disease
Cancers 2019, 11(10), 1417; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11101417 - 23 Sep 2019
Abstract
In the acute myeloid leukemia (AML) setting, research has extensively investigated the existence and relevance of molecular biomarkers, in order to better tailor therapy with newly developed agents and hence improve outcomes and/or save the patient from poorly effective therapies. In particular, in [...] Read more.
In the acute myeloid leukemia (AML) setting, research has extensively investigated the existence and relevance of molecular biomarkers, in order to better tailor therapy with newly developed agents and hence improve outcomes and/or save the patient from poorly effective therapies. In particular, in patients with AML, residual disease after therapy does reflect the sum of the contributions of all factors associated with diagnosis and post-diagnosis resistance. The evaluation of minimal/measurable residual disease (MRD) can be considered as a key tool to guide patient’s management and a promising endpoint for clinical trials. In this narrative review, we discuss MRD evaluation as biomarker for tailored therapy in AML patients; we briefly report current evidence on the use of MRD in clinical practice, and comment on the potential ability of MRD in the assessment of the efficacy of new molecules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
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