What is pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)?

Updated: Jan 03, 2019
  • Author: Vikramjit S Kanwar, MBBS, MBA, MRCP(UK), FAAP; Chief Editor: Jennifer Reikes Willert, MD  more...
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Answer

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common malignancy diagnosed in children, representing one quarter of all pediatric cancers. The annual incidence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia within the United States is 3.7-4.9 cases per 100,000 children age 0-14 years, [3] with a peak incidence in children aged 2-5 years.

Although a few cases are associated with inherited genetic syndromes (eg, Down syndrome) or congenital immunodeficiencies (eg, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, ataxia-telangiectasia), the cause remains largely unknown. [4]

With improvements in diagnosis and treatment, overall cure rates for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia have reached 90%. [5] The use of risk-adapted treatment protocols has improved cure rates while limiting the toxicity of therapy. This article summarizes the current diagnosis and treatment of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.


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