The rocky road to personalized medicine in acute myeloid leukaemia

Bryan Brinda, Irum Khan, Brian Parkin, Heiko Konig*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a malignant disorder of the myeloid blood lineage characterized by impaired differentiation and increased proliferation of hematopoietic precursor cells. Recent technological advances have led to an improved understanding of AML biology but also uncovered the enormous cytogenetic and molecular heterogeneity of the disease. Despite this heterogeneity, AML is mostly managed by a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach consisting of intensive, highly toxic induction and consolidation chemotherapy. These treatment protocols have remained largely unchanged for the past several decades and only lead to a cure in approximately 30–35% of cases. The advent of targeted therapies in chronic myeloid leukaemia and other malignancies has sparked hope to improve patient outcome in AML. However, the implementation of targeted agents in AML therapy has been unexpectedly cumbersome and remains a difficult task due to a variety of disease- and patient-specific factors. In this review, we describe current standard and investigational therapeutic strategies with a focus on targeted agents and highlight potential tools that might facilitate the development of targeted therapies for this fatal disease. The classes of agents described in this review include constitutively activated signalling pathway inhibitors, surface receptor targets, epigenetic modifiers, drugs targeting the interaction of the hematopoietic progenitor cell with the stroma and drugs that target the apoptotic machinery. The clinical context and outcome with these agents will be examined to gain insight about their optimal utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1411-1427
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • acute myeloid leukaemia
  • drug resistance
  • minimal residual disease
  • targeted therapies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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