Hematological malignancies and molecular targeting therapy

Akira Shimada

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Recent genetic analysis using next-generation sequencing (NGS) vastly improved the understanding of molecular mechanism of hematological malignancies. Many molecular targeting drugs have since been used in the clinic, which is timely as clinical outcomes using conventional chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) reached a plateau. The first memorable success in this field was imatinib, a first-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), which has been applied in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) since 2001. Imatinib drastically changed CML treatment and many CML patients no longer require HSCT. Recently, the second generation TKIs, dasatinib, nilotinib, and ponatinib, have also been available for CML patients. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is sub-categorized based on cytogenetic or molecular genetic abnormalities. Chemotherapy and HSCT combined with TKI improved the event-free survival rate from 20% to 80% in Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome-positive ALL. Reportedly, another Ph-like ALL subgroup with poor prognosis can also be treated by TKIs; additionally, cell therapies that include bispecific T-cell engagers or chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T therapy are emerging. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogenous disease and FMS-like related tyrosine kinase-3 (FLT3)-internal tandem duplication, is the most robust marker for poor prognosis. Several first-generation TKIs have been studied for clinical use. Notably, chemotherapy plus midostaurin improved survival compared with chemotherapy alone. Therefore, midostaurin was approved to treat adult AML patients with FLT3-ITD in 2017. Gemtuzumab ozogamicin, a selective anti-CD33 antibody–calicheamicin conjugate, is approved for clinical practice. Many molecular targeting agents are now being used for hematological malignancies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number172641
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 5 2019


  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Chronic myeloid leukemia
  • Molecular targeting therapy
  • Myeloproliferative neoplasm
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Hematological malignancies and molecular targeting therapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this