Over the past two decades, slow but deliberate progress has been made in understanding the genetics of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and how the surrounding microenvironment influences leukemia cell survival. The complexity of CLL with respect to different chromosomal aberrations, lack of a common aberrant signaling pathway activation, and associated immune suppression of the disease has been seen a major stumbling block for developing a single targeted therapy similar to imatinib used in chronic myeloid leukemia. The upcoming therapeutic era we are entering with the B-cell receptor (BCR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors ibrutinib and idelalisib appears to be overcoming this obstacle. Indeed, for the large majority of patients, it appears that application of BCR kinase inhibitors can promote durable remissions without the need for chemotherapy. Where other very active targeted agents such as ABT-199, therapeutic antibodies, and chimeric antigen receptor-modified T-cells will be used in CLL also represents a major question that future clinical trials will answer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research