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What's the Difference Between Pediatric and Adult ALL?

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Published on January 20, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • ALL is more often diagnosed in young children.
  • Patients between the ages of 15 or 18 through 39 can be treated with pediatric treatment regimens.
  • A subset of ALL is Ph-like ALL. The genes found in this subset are more resistant to chemotherapy and are more prevalent in the adolescent and young adult population.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia expert Dr. Shira Dinner, from Northwestern University, talks to Esther Schorr about the recommended treatment regimens for pediatric and adult patients, and what new therapies are in development. Watch to learn more about how different patient subsets of ALL respond better to certain treatments.

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Transcript | What's the Difference Between Pediatric and Adult ALL?

I'm here today with Dr. Shira Dinner, who has lots of expertise related to ALL.  She is from Northwestern University. 

So this is where we're going in terms of the recommended standards for treating patients.  Recently, within the last year, Wendy Stock published in Blood the results of the CLGB 10403 trial which specifically looked at a pediatric‑inspired chemo regimen in an adolescent and young adult population, and those patients did have improve survival outcomes. 

There also seems to be something biologically different about their disease.  They don't tend to do as well as young children will.  And we are learning about certain subsets of ALL called Ph‑like ALL that has certain gene mutations that seem to indicate that they do have a greater resistance to chemotherapy, and it seems more prevalent in this adolescent and young adult population than in children, so we are trying to use the intensified chemotherapy regimens for them.  However, I think we still need to improve upon that. 

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