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Advances in Hematology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 513702, 9 pages
Review Article

Molecular Action of Lenalidomide in Lymphocytes and Hematologic Malignancies

1Cancer Biology PhD Program, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620, USA
2Department of Immunology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL 33612, USA
3Department of Malignant Hematology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL 33612, USA

Received 16 November 2011; Revised 12 May 2012; Accepted 18 June 2012

Academic Editor: Anna Marina Liberati

Copyright © 2012 Jessica M. McDaniel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The immunomodulatory agent, lenalidomide, is a structural analogue of thalidomide approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and multiple myeloma (MM). This agent is also currently under active investigation for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), as well as in drug combinations for some solid tumors and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). Although treatment with lenalidomide has translated into a significant extension in overall survival in MM and MDS and has superior safety and efficacy relative to thalidomide, the mechanism of action as it relates to immune modulation remains elusive. Based on preclinical models and clinical trials, lenalidomide, as well as other structural thalidomide derivatives, enhances the proliferative and functional capacity of T-lymphocytes and amplifies costimulatory signaling pathways that activate effector responses and suppress inflammation. This paper summarizes our current understanding of T- and natural killer (NK) cell pathways that are modified by lenalidomide in hematopoietic neoplasms to inform future decisions about potential combination therapies.