Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

Lancet. 2008 Mar 22;371(9617):1030-43. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60457-2.


Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a malignant disorder of lymphoid progenitor cells, affects both children and adults, with peak prevalence between the ages of 2 and 5 years. Steady progress in development of effective treatments has led to a cure rate of more than 80% in children, creating opportunities for innovative approaches that would preserve past gains in leukaemia-free survival while reducing the toxic side-effects of current intensive regimens. Advances in our understanding of the pathobiology of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, fuelled by emerging molecular technologies, suggest that drugs specifically targeting the genetic defects of leukaemic cells could revolutionise management of this disease. Meanwhile, studies are underway to ascertain the precise events that take place in the genesis of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, to enhance the clinical application of known risk factors and antileukaemic agents, and to identify treatment regimens that might boost the generally low cure rates in adults and subgroups of children with high-risk leukaemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Humans
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / drug therapy
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / genetics
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / physiopathology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Translocation, Genetic / genetics*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents