Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a clonal expansion of hematopoietic blasts, is a highly heterogeneous disease comprising many entities for which distinct treatment strategies are pursued. Although ALL is a success story in pediatric oncology, results in adults lag behind those in children. An expansion of new drugs, more reliable immunologic and molecular techniques for the assessment of minimal residual disease, and efforts at more precise risk stratification are generating new aspects of adult ALL therapy. For this review, the authors summarized pertinent and recent literature on ALL biology and therapy, and they discuss current strategies and potential implications of novel approaches to the management of adult ALL. Cancer 2010. (c) 2010 American Cancer Society.