Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) represents 22-30% of all leukemia cases, thus being the most commonly diagnosed form of adult leukemia in the Western world. On a cellular level, the disease progresses due to the prolonged survival of B-cell CLL cells arrested in the G₀ stage of the cell cycle. The current standard treatment for CLL is a combination regimen containing purine analogues and monoclonal antibodies. Although response rates to such regimens in previously untreated patients are high, patients with CLL invariably experience relapse and often acquire high-risk chromosomal abnormalities. Therefore, the search for novel avenues in CLL treatment is warranted. In this manuscript, we will describe theoretical premises and some preliminary data making the case for inhibitors of the potassium currents as possible proapoptotic agents that warrant investigation as a potential pharmacologic target in CLL.
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