Continuing challenges and current issues in acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Ankit Kansagra, Saurabh Dahiya, Mark Litzow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has resulted into high cure rates for pediatric patients, however outcomes for adult patients remain suboptimal. The 5-year overall survival is only 30–40% in adults and elderly patients with ALL compared to 90% in children. We have seen major advances in our understanding and management of ALL related to identification of new cytogenetic and molecular abnormalities and development of novel targeted agents for the treatment of ALL. The addition of tyrosine kinase inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies and novel immune therapies (e.g. bispecific T cell engager [BiTE] and chimeric antigen receptor [CAR] T cells) has resulted in improved outcomes. These new developments are changing the treatment paradigm of adults ALL from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to a more individualized treatment approach based on immunophenotypic, cytogenetic and molecular features. In this article we review recent diagnostic and therapeutic advances along with the challenges in the treatment of patients with ALL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-541
Number of pages16
JournalLeukemia and Lymphoma
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 4 2018


  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Philadelphia chromosome
  • allogeneic stem cell transplant
  • chimeric antigen receptor T
  • minimal residual disease
  • monoclonal antibodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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