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Recent advances in the biology and treatment of B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Authors Hefazi M, Litzow MR

Received 6 April 2018

Accepted for publication 28 June 2018

Published 25 September 2018 Volume 2018:8 Pages 47—61

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/BLCTT.S170351

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor David Dingli


Mehrdad Hefazi, Mark R Litzow

Division of Hematology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA

Abstract: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a hematologic malignancy arising from precursors of the lymphoid lineage. Conventional cytotoxic chemotherapies have resulted in high cure rates of up to 90% in pediatric ALL, but the outcomes for adult patients remain suboptimal with 5-year survival rates of only 30%–40%. Over the last decade, major advances have been made in our understanding and management of ALL. Identification of new prognostic genomic markers and incorporation of minimal residual diseases’ assessment into therapeutic protocols have improved risk stratification and treatment strategies. The use of pediatric-inspired regimens for adolescent and young adults, and the advent of tyrosine kinase inhibitors and novel targeted therapies, including monoclonal antibodies and chimeric antigen receptor T cells, have redefined the therapeutic paradigm of ALL, and significantly improved the outcomes. In this article, we will provide an overview of the current knowledge regarding the biology and treatment of ALL, and highlight recent diagnostic and therapeutic advances made in this area over the past 5 years.

Keywords: acute lymphoblastic leukemia, minimal residual disease, hematopoietic cell transplantation, Philadelphia chromosome, monoclonal antibodies

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