How we use venetoclax with hypomethylating agents for the treatment of newly diagnosed patients with acute myeloid leukemia

Brian A Jonas, Daniel A Pollyea
Leukemia: Official Journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 2019 October 18
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is associated with poor outcomes, especially in older patients in whom the disease is most common. B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) is an antiapoptotic protein involved in the survival and maintenance of AML, and it is overexpressed in the leukemia stem cell population. Venetoclax is an oral BCL-2 protein inhibitor recently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in combination with a hypomethylating agent (HMA) (azacitidine or decitabine) or low-dose cytarabine for front-line treatment of AML in older patients or those unfit for induction chemotherapy. Given that its mechanism of action is unique, it is not surprising that this widely effective therapy presents unique challenges, including but not limited to the rapidity of responses, the rate and depth of cytopenias, and issues related to drug-drug interactions. With the recent FDA approval and increasingly widespread use, we aim here to summarize, based on evidence and experience, emerging management strategies for the combination of HMAs and venetoclax in the treatment of AML.


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