Abstract

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is characterized by genetic alterations that block differentiation, promote proliferation of lymphoid precursor cells, and are important for risk stratification. Although ALL is less common in adolescents and young adults (AYAs) and adults than children, survival rates are inferior, and long-term prognosis for adults is poor. Thus, ALL remains a challenging disease to treat in the AYA and adult populations. A major contributing factor that influences prognosis in this population is the reduced prevalence of genetic subtypes associated with favorable outcome and a concomitant increase in subtypes associated with poor outcome. Recent advances in genomic profiling across the age spectrum continue to enhance our knowledge of the differences in disease biology between children and adults and are providing important insights into novel therapeutic targets. Philadelphia chromosome-like (Ph-like) ALL is one such subtype characterized by alterations that deregulate cytokine receptor or tyrosine kinase signaling and are amenable to inhibition with approved tyrosine kinase inhibitors. One of the greatest challenges now remaining is determining how to implement this breadth of genomic information into rapid and accurate diagnostic testing to facilitate the development of novel clinical trials that improve the outcome of AYAs and adults with ALL.

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