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Keywords:

  • glucocorticoid;
  • haematology;
  • leukaemia;
  • oncology.

Abstract

Glucocorticoids (GCs), such as prednisolone and dexamethasone, are key components in multi-agent chemotherapy protocols used for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). Approximately 10% of children with ALL will respond poorly to GCs, and GC resistance is associated with a significantly inferior outcome. This review summarises the current knowledge of GC resistance in ALL, including the roles of the GC receptor and its co-chaperone molecules, the pro-apoptotic and pro-survival B-cell lymphoma 2 family members and alternative non-apoptotic mechanisms of cell death. It concludes with a discussion on therapeutic attempts to overcome GC resistance.