Advances in acute myeloid leukemia: Recently approved therapies and drugs in development

Michele Stanchina, Deborah Soong, Binbin Zheng-Lin, Justin M. Watts, Justin Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a genetically heterogeneous malignancy comprised of various cytogenetic and molecular abnormalities that has notoriously been difficult to treat with an overall poor prognosis. For decades, treatment options were limited to either intensive chemotherapy with anthracycline and cytarabine-based regimens (7 + 3) or lower intensity regimens including hypomethylating agents or low dose cytarabine, followed by either allogeneic stem cell transplant or consolidation chemotherapy. Fortunately, with the influx of rapidly evolving molecular technologies and new genetic understanding, the treatment landscape for AML has dramatically changed. Advances in the formulation and delivery of 7 + 3 with liposomal cytarabine and daunorubicin (Vyxeos) have improved overall survival in secondary AML. Increased understanding of the genetic underpinnings of AML has led to targeting actionable mutations such as FLT3, IDH1/2 and TP53, and BCL2 or hedgehog pathways in more frail populations. Antibody drug conjugates have resurfaced in the AML landscape and there have been numerous advances utilizing immunotherapies including immune checkpoint inhibitors, antibody-drug conjugates, bispecific T cell engager antibodies, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T therapy and the development of AML vaccines. While there are dozens of ongoing studies and new drugs in the pipeline, this paper serves as a review of the advances achieved in the treatment of AML in the last several years and the most promising future avenues of advancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3225
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-body drug conjugate
  • BCL2
  • CD123
  • CD33
  • CD47
  • FLT3
  • Hedgehog
  • IDH1/2
  • Immunotherapy
  • Novel therapeutics AML

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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