The therapeutic approach to the patient with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) currently evolves toward new frontiers. This is particularly apparent from the entree of high-throughput diagnostic technologies and the identification of prognostic and therapeutic targets, the introduction of therapies in genetically defined subgroups of AML, as well as the influx of investigational approaches and novel drugs into the pipeline of clinical trials that target pathogenetic mechanisms of the disease. In Section I, Dr. Bob Lowenberg reviews current issues in the clinical practice of the management of adults with AML, including those of older age. Dr. Lowenberg describes upcoming possibilities for predicting prognosis in defined subsets by molecular markers and reviews experimental strategies to improve remission induction and postinduction treatment. In Section II, Dr. James Griffin reviews the mechanisms that lead to activation of tyrosine kinases by mutations in AML, the consequences of that activation for the cell, and the opportunities for targeted therapy and discusses some examples of developing novel drugs (tyrosine kinase inhibitors) and their effectiveness in AML (FLT3). In Section III, Dr. Martin Tallman describes the evaluation and management of patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia, a notable example of therapeutic progress in a molecularly defined entity of leukemia. Dr. Tallman focuses on the molecular genetics of APL, current curative treatment strategies and approaches for patients with relapsed and refractory disease. In addition, areas of controversy regarding treatment are addressed.
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