The FDA Just Approved A New Treatment For A Subtype of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

According to a story from Cancer Updates, Research & Education, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recently approved the use of Trisenox injection in combination with tretinoin as a treatment for adults that were recently diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia. The treatment is specified for cases that have been designated at low risk.

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a type of blood cancer in which affects the myeloid line of cells. These abnormal cells can build up rapidly in the blood and bone marrow. This form of leukemia progresses rapidly and can kill an affected person in a matter of weeks or months if left untreated. You can learn more about acute myeloid leukemia by clicking here. Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is a subtype of of AML in which there is an unusual accumulation of immature granulocytes known as promyelocytes. This form if AML is also characterized by a distinct chromosomal translocation and its sensitivity to treatment with tretinoin, which is also known as all-trans retinoic acid. Compared to other forms of leukemia, the prognosis for APL is generally better. To learn more about AML, click here.

Trisenox has gone through extensive testing both on its own and as a combination therapy with tretinoin. Tretinoin has been the first line standard of care for APL and is capable of causing remission on its own, but the combination of both treatments in low risk cases was more effective. Trisenox has already been approved for treatment of APL on its own, but under considerably different circumstances. The treatment was previously approved for use in patients who had experienced relapse in APL, particularly after treatment with anthracycline and retinoid chemotherapy.

Trisenox operates on APL by reorganizing the nuclear bodies which in turn degrades the mutant protein that is characteristic of the cancer’s chormosomal translocation. The treatment also can trigger apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in the promyelocytes, and reduces the rate of relapse in patients with high risk.

The new approval increases the options for first line treatment for patients with APL. While survival rates of this form are already better than most other leukemias, more options for treatment will mean more chances for patients to survive.

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