Approach to the Treatment of Philadelphia Chromosome-Negative B-cell ALL in Older Adults: Is Age Becoming just a Number?

Curr Hematol Malig Rep. 2023 Jun;18(3):68-74. doi: 10.1007/s11899-023-00691-x. Epub 2023 Mar 6.


Purpose of review: Despite progress in the treatment of pediatric B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and PH + ALL, fewer advancements have been for older adults with PH-negative B-cell ALL. Treatment of this population is mired by higher incidence of poor risk biologic features, increased incidence of medical comorbidities, and higher rates of treatment-related mortality (TRM). Here, we review the difficulties in managing elderly patients with PH-negative ALL.

Recent findings: The development of novel agents has brought additional tools to the armamentarium of drugs and has changed the landscape of treatment. More recent clinical trials and future clinical trials focus on blinatumomab, inotuzomab ozogamicin (IO), and/or chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) either alone or integrated with dose-reduced chemotherapy regimens. The introduction of novel agents/therapies and incorporation into our current treatment paradigms may finally offer an avenue to improve the dismal outcomes seen in this population.

Keywords: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia; Blinatumomab; Elderly; Frail; Geriatric Assessment; Inotuzomab ozogamicin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Bispecific* / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Philadelphia Chromosome
  • Precursor B-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / drug therapy
  • Precursor B-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / genetics
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / drug therapy
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / genetics
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen*


  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen
  • Antibodies, Bispecific