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[Correspondence] Lessons taught by acute promyelocytic leukemia cure

Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) used to be a dreaded disease, the most vicious of all acute leukaemias. Standard risk APL can now be cured in virtually all patients by a combination of a hormone, retinoic acid, and arsenic trioxide.1 The latter can even be substituted by tetra-arsenic tetra-sulphide, allowing oral therapy.2 Retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide bind to the promyelocytic leukaemia (PML)–retinoic acid receptor-α (RARα) fusion oncoprotein (PML–RARα) and initiate proteolytic degradation of PML–RARα (figure).

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