Madrid, June 19 2023-. Scientific activity reflects the fact that acute myeloid leukemia is one of the oncological pathologies where the most advances are currently occurring, especially in the area of patient stratification and the development of new and targeted therapies aimed at curing the disease. These developments are making it possible to offer patients increasingly personalized treatments, in other words more effective and with lower toxicity. In the words of Dr. Adolfo de la Fuente, head of the Hematology and Hemotherapy Department and the Leukemia Unit at MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid, "we are living in an era of continuous advances and improvements in the development of new strategies for both diagnosis and treatment. All the trials, participation in scientific conferences and other knowledge-sharing sessions are designed with the ultimate aim of providing our patients with the best therapeutic options".
The vital importance of continued progress in leukemia research is underlined by the fact that each year more than 5,000 new adult cases are diagnosed, according to data from the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM)1. For this reason, and with the aim of responding to their needs in a more personalized way, recent studies, including that presented by Dr. De la Fuente's team at the annual meeting of the European Society for Bone Marrow Transplantation (EBMT), have looked at how different patient populations respond to a therapeutic strategy.
What is fundamental, the expert explained, is "to achieve a better understanding of how leukemias progress in order to understand why some patients show a good response or are cured, while other, receiving the same treatments, obtain less successful outcomes". In this regard, he highlighted that an update of the classification of the various types of leukemia was already carried out in 2022 by the World Health Organization (WHO)3.
Promising results in the use of targeted therapies
In regards to advances in treatments, CAR-T and targeted therapies are those showing the greatest potential. This is true, for example, of the trials conducted with a menin inhibitor that began in Houston and are currently underway at MD Anderson Madrid, which have shown its effectiveness in the remission of acute leukaemia in a significant sample of patients4. "We are also analysing other inhibitors, a key component in targeted therapies because they directly attack the tumour cell replication mechanism, impeding dissemination throughout the body", explained Dr. Adolfo de la Fuente. He went on to add, "We will soon present the results of a study on the impact and benefit of combining FLT3 protein inhibitors with intensive chemotherapy in acute myeloid leukemia".
Despite all these advances, the treatment of this cancer is still complex and depends on both the type of leukemia and other factors, such as the patient's age and general state of health. Based on individual needs, treatments may include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapies or bone marrow transplantation. The latter “is still one of the approaches with the highest cure rates and is currently recommended, not only as a final option when other treatments are ineffective, but a procedure we can include at various times according to our assessment of the progression" concluded the specialist.
- Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) – Cancer figures 2023
- WHO Online Classification of Tumours: https://tumourclassification.iarc.who.int/welcome/
- Issa, G.C., Aldoss, I., DiPersio, J. et al. The menin inhibitor revumenib in KMT2A-rearranged or NPM1-mutant leukaemia. Nature 615, 920–924 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-023-05812-3