Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Adolescents and Young AdultsBurke P.W. · Douer D.
Leukemia Service, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, N.Y., USA
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The cure rate of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in children is 80%, compared to less than half in adults. A major proportion of this cure rate drop occurs in adolescents and young adults (AYAs). The age range defining this population varies between studies, biological characteristics are different from both younger children and older adults, and AYAs are treated either by pediatric or adult oncologists, who often apply different treatment approaches to the same ALL patient population. The outcome of AYAs aged 15-21 years treated by more contemporary pediatric protocols is similar to that of younger children but is inferior when using adult regimens. This motivated studying AYA patients, including those above the age of 21 years, with pediatric or ‘pediatrics-inspired' regimens that intensified nonmyelosuppressive drugs such as vincristine, steroids and asparaginase, with very promising preliminary results. Discovering new mutations in AYA ALL will help stratify patients into risk subgroups and identify targets for novel agents. This, together with fine-tuning pediatric chemotherapy principles will hopefully finally decrease the cure rate gap between children and AYAs - and even older adults.
© 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel
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