Current status of antibody therapy in ALL

Br J Haematol. 2015 Feb;168(4):471-80. doi: 10.1111/bjh.13205. Epub 2014 Nov 10.


Despite the significant advances in modern chemotherapy, it remains challenging to treat adult patients with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). The relapse rate remains high, and the outcome at the time of relapse is dismal. Antibody-based therapies have demonstrated promising results in this patient group. Variable mechanisms have been applied to target surface antigens (CD20 [also termed MS4A1], CD22, CD52 and CD19) that are commonly expressed on malignant leukaemia cells. In this review, we will focus on the clinical application of such therapies in adult ALL, including the naked antibodies: Rituximab, Ofatumumab, Epratuzumab and Alemtuzumab; the immunotoxins: BL22 and Combotox; the immunoconjugates: inotuzumab and SAR 3419; as well as the Bi-specific T cell engaging (BiTE)-specific antibody, Blinatumomab.

Keywords: acute lymphoblastic leukaemia; antibody therapy; minimal residual disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / therapeutic use*
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antigens, CD / immunology*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Passive*
  • Immunoconjugates / therapeutic use
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / drug therapy*
  • Remission Induction


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Immunoconjugates