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Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia

     Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as acute lymphocytic leukemia or acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL), is an acute form ofleukemia, or cancer of the white blood cells, characterized by the overproduction and accumulation of cancerous, immature white blood cells, known as lymphoblasts.

    ALL, lymphoblasts are overproduced in the bone marrow and continuously multiply, causing damage and death by inhibiting the production of normal cells (such as red and white blood cells and platelets) in the bone marrow and by spreading (infiltrating) to other organs. ALL is most common in childhood, with a peak incidence at 2–5 years of age and another peak in old age.

    The signs and symptoms of ALL are

    • Generalized weakness and fatigue

    • Anemia

    • Dizziness

    • Frequent or unexplained fever and infection

    • Weight loss and/or loss of appetite

    • Excessive and unexplained bruising

    • Bone pain, joint pain (caused by the spread of "blast" cells to the surface of the bone or into the joint from the marrow cavity)

    • Breathlessness

    • Enlarged lymph nodes, liver and/or spleen

    • Pitting edema (swelling) in the lower limbs and/or abdomen

    • Petechiae, which are tiny red spots or lines in the skin due to low platelet levels

    Tests and Diagnosis

    • Physical examination

    • Complete blood count

    • Blood smear

    • Bone marrow biopsy

    • Spinal tap

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia

     Treatment and Medication


    Remission induction:Combination of prednisolone or dexamethasone, vincristine, asparaginase (better tolerance in pediatric patients), and daunorubicin (used in Adult ALL) is used to induce remission. Central nervous system prophylaxis can be achieved via irradiation, cytarabine and methotrexate, or liposomal cytarabine.In Philadelphia chromosome-positive ALL, the intensity of initial induction treatment may be less than has been traditionally given.

    Consolidation:Typical consolidiation protocols use vincristine, cyclophosphamide, cytarabine, daunorubicin, etoposide, thioguanine or mercaptopurine given as blocks in different combinations. For CNS protection, intrathecal methotrexate or cytarabine is usually used combined with or without cranio-spinal irradiation (the use of radiation therapy to the head and spine). Central nervous system relapse is treated with intrathecal administration of hydrocortisone, methotrexate, and cytarabine.

    Maintenance therapy: Oral mercaptopurine, once weekly oral methotrexate, once monthly 5-day course of intravenous vincristine and oral corticosteroids are usually used. The length of maintenance therapy is 3 years for boys, 2 years for girls and adults.

    And the other include


    Biological therapy

    Radiation therapy

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia


    The outcome of children and adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia is markedly different. Since there is limited information on the distribution of clinico-biological variables in different age cohorts, we analyzed 5202 patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia enrolled in the Italian multicenter AIEOP and GIMEMA protocols and stratified them in nine age cohorts.

    The highest prevalence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia was observed in children, although a second peak was recorded from the 4th decade onwards. Interestingly, the lowest incidence was found in females between 14–40 years. Immunophenotypic characterization showed a B-lineage in 85.8% of patients: a pro-B stage, associated with MLL/AF4 positivity, was more frequent in patients between 10–50 years.

    T-lineage leukemia (14.2%) was rare among small children and increased in patients aged 10–40 years. The prevalence of the BCR/ABL1 rearrangement increased progressively with age starting from the cohort of patients 10–14 years old and was present in 52.7% of cases in the 6th decade. Similarly, the MLL/AF4 rearrangement constantly increased up to the 5th decade, while the ETV6/RUNX1 rearrangement disappeared from the age of 30 onwards.

    This study shows that acute lymphoblastic leukemia in adolescents and young adults is characterized by a male prevalence, higher percentage of T-lineage cases, an increase of poor prognostic molecular markers with aging compared to cases in children, and conclusively quantified the progressive increase of BCR/ABL+ cases with age, which are potentially manageable by targeted therapies.

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