Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) is a rare pediatric leukemia characterized by mutations in five canonical RAS pathway genes. The diagnosis is made by typical clinical and hematological findings associated with a compatible mutation. Although this is sufficient for clinical decision-making in most JMML cases, more in-depth analysis can include DNA methylation class and panel sequencing analysis for secondary mutations. NRAS-initiated JMML is heterogeneous and adequate management ranges from watchful waiting to allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Upfront azacitidine in KRAS patients can achieve long-term remissions without HSCT; if HSCT is required, a less toxic preparative regimen is recommended. Germline CBL patients often experience spontaneous resolution of the leukemia or exhibit stable mixed chimerism after HSCT. JMML driven by PTPN11 or NF1 is often rapidly progressive, requires swift HSCT and may benefit from pretransplant therapy with azacitidine. Because graft-versus-leukemia alloimmunity is central to cure high risk patients, the immunosuppressive regimen should be discontinued early after HSCT.
Keywords: 5-azacitidine; RAS signaling; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia; myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative disorders; targeted therapy.