Naked antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates: targeted therapy for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Erica Brivio, Francisco Bautista, C. Michel Zwaan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The treatment of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has reached overall survival rates exceeding 90%. The present and future challenges are to cure the remainder of patients still dying from disease, and to reduce morbidity and mortality in those who can be cured with standard-of-care chemotherapy by replacing toxic chemotherapy elements while retaining cure rates. With the novel therapeutic options introduced in the last years, including immunotherapies and targeted antibodies, the treatment of ALL is undergoing major changes. For B-cell precursor ALL, blinatumomab, an anti-CD19 bispecific antibody, has established its role in the consolidation treatment for both high- and standard-risk first relapse of ALL, in the presence of bone marrow involvement, and may also have an impact on the outcome of high-risk subsets such as infant ALL and Philadelphia chromosome-positive ALL. Inotuzumab ozogamicin, an anti-CD22 drug conjugated antibody, has demonstrated high efficacy in inducing complete remission in relapsed ALL, even in the presence of high tumor burden, but randomized phase III trials are still ongoing. For T-ALL the role of CD38-directed treatment, such as daratumumab, is gaining interest, but randomized data are needed to assess its specific benefit. These antibodies are currently being tested in patients with newly diagnosed ALL and may lead to major changes in the present paradigm of treatment of pediatric ALL. Unlike the past, lessons may be learned from innovations in adult ALL, in which more drastic changes are piloted that may need to be translated to pediatrics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1700-1701
Number of pages2
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024

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