Affiliation: Department of Cytobiochemistry, University of Lodz, 141/143 Pomorska Str., 90-236 Lodz, Poland.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most frequent type of hematological cancer in the Western World. An accumulation of leukemic cells in peripheral blood of patients is a result of apoptosis disturbances as well as an increase in germinal centers CLL cell proliferation. The differences between CLL patients in the course and response to therapy reflects personal variability between patients in their genetic material. It was documented that many sufferers from CLL are over 60 years old, and because of many countries population obsolescence this type of leukemia could become more frequent in the future. CLL remains incurable, and the therapy regimens available at present could induce even complete remissions, but finally a relapse of the disease. The etiology of this disease is still not known, but our understanding of the processes running in CLL cells has significantly increased. A number of new agents with potential of CLL cell elimination by apoptosis or autophagy were characterized. Some of them reflect potential in cell sensitization to standard therapy. The major challenge for the future is to develop targeted anti-cancer therapy and design the optimal personalized manner of CLL treatment. A special interest is focused on anti-cancer agents – natural substances of plant origin. This paper reviews chosen new antileukemic agents belonging to different drug-classes (new monoclonal antibodies or apoptosis-, BCR signaling- and cell cycle-related inhibitors, substances of plant origin) which are under intense investigation in preclinical studies and early clinical trials.