MEDICAL HYPOTHESES AND RESEARCH
VOL. 2, No. 2, January 2005


L. P. Catley [2005] Med Hypotheses Res 2: 357-378.


Cytogenetics and the Molecular Approach to the
Diagnosis and Management of Acute Leukemia in Adults


Laurence P. Catley*

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard University, 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA



Abstract. Acute leukemia is a heterogeneous hematological malignancy that is well
characterised on a molecular level. This study presents the management of 70 consecutive
patients with adult acute leukemia presenting to a single institution. Cytogenetic analysis was
performed on all patients and was used to risk-stratify. The majority of patients were then
treated as part of larger multi-institution trials to improve the outcome of adult acute
leukemia. The results of these trials are now known, and will be presented. Molecular
characterizations have made significant contributions to the diagnosis of acute leukemia in
terms of cytogenetic classification and risk factor stratification. Subsequently, molecular
targeted therapy has led to the development of new potential avenues for therapy, which
have already shown activity in acute leukemia. Future treatment approaches may involve
molecular based therapy in combination with standard cytotoxic chemotherapy.

*Address all correspondence to: Dr. Laurence P. Catley, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 44
Binney Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.  Phone: 617-632-3409. Fax: 617-632-2140. Email:
Laurence_Catley@dfci.harvard.edu



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