Eviction from the Sanctuary: Development of Targeted Therapy Against Cell Adhesion Molecules in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Publication date: Available online 11 July 2017
Source:Seminars in Oncology
Author(s): Sonali P. Barwe, Anthony Quagliano, Anilkumar Gopalakrishnapillai
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a malignant hematological disease afflicting hematopoiesis in the bone marrow. While 80-90% of patients diagnosed with ALL will achieve complete remission at some point during treatment, ALL is associated with high relapse rate, with the 5-year overall survival rate of 68%. The initial remission failure and the high rate of relapse can be attributed to intrinsic chemoprotective mechanisms that allow persistence of ALL cells despite therapy. These mechanisms are mediated, at least in part, through the engagement of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) within the bone marrow microenvironment. This review assembles CAMs implicated in protection of leukemic cells from chemotherapy. Such studies are limited in ALL. Therefore, CAMs that are associated with poor outcomes or are over-expressed in ALL and have been shown to be involved in chemoprotection in other hematological cancers are also included. It is likely that these molecules play parallel roles in ALL because the CAMs identified to be a factor in ALL chemoresistance also work similarly in other hematological malignancies. We review the signaling mechanisms activated by the engagement of CAMs that provide protection from chemotherapy. Development of targeted therapies against CAMs could improve outcome and raise the overall cure rate in ALL.

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