Classic and Variants APLs, as Viewed from a Therapy Response

Cancers (Basel). 2020 Apr 14;12(4):967. doi: 10.3390/cancers12040967.


Most acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) are caused by PML-RARA, a translocation-driven fusion oncoprotein discovered three decades ago. Over the years, several other types of rare X-RARA fusions have been described, while recently, oncogenic fusion proteins involving other retinoic acid receptors (RARB or RARG) have been associated to very rare cases of acute promyelocytic leukemia. PML-RARA driven pathogenesis and the molecular basis for therapy response have been the focus of many studies, which have now converged into an integrated physio-pathological model. The latter is well supported by clinical and molecular studies on patients, making APL one of the rare hematological disorder cured by targeted therapies. Here we review recent data on APL-like diseases not driven by the PML-RARA fusion and discuss these in view of current understanding of "classic" APL pathogenesis and therapy response.

Keywords: ATO; ATRA; PML; leukemia; retinoic acid signaling; targeted therapy.

Publication types

  • Review