Biology of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Pediatr Clin North Am. 2015 Feb;62(1):47-60. doi: 10.1016/j.pcl.2014.09.004.


Giant strides have been made in the management of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) over previous decades. Extensive collaborative efforts internationally have played a vital role in the remarkable progress made in not only improving therapeutic outcomes but also deciphering the complex biology of childhood ALL. This review summarizes various insights gained from biological studies of childhood ALL, with a focus on recent studies, and also discusses genomic lesions and epigenetic regulatory mechanisms associated with leukemic transformation. The importance of studying the biology of the host so as to understand additional heterogeneity in treatment response and toxicities is highlighted.

Keywords: Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia; Chromosomal alterations; Genomics; Host germline polymorphisms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / genetics
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / pathology*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / therapy
  • Risk Factors