What is the role of arsenic in newly diagnosed APL?

Martin S. Tallman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), a highly curable subtype of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is characterized by the chromosomal translocation t(15;17) and, consequently, the presence of the PML-RARα fusion transcript. Most patients are treated with all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), which targets the RAR-α moiety of the PML/RAR-α fusion transcript, and anthracycline-based chemotherapy. Arsenic trioxide (ATO) targets the PML moiety and has different mechanisms of action at different concentrations, and induces differentiation and apoptosis. Several clinical trials have tested the combination of ATRA and ATO with outstanding results. Furthermore, other trials have explored ATO as a single agent in newly diagnosed patients. ATRA plus ATO has emerged as a promising strategy, even for those with high-risk disease. Future studies will compare ATRA and ATO to conventional ATRA and anthracycline-based chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-666
Number of pages8
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Haematology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • acute promyelocytic leukemia
  • all-trans retinoic acid
  • anthracyclines
  • APL
  • arsenic trioxide
  • ATO
  • ATRA
  • PML-RARα
  • tamibarotene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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