This article is a more specific discussion of ALL. Lymphocytes are further broken down into B and T cell lymphocytes. ALL is a spectrum of disease comprised of several different subtypes, named for the cell type that is affected B or T and how abnormal the cell appears under a microscope. A person with ALL develops abnormal numbers of white blood cells rather quickly, usually over weeks, giving the disease the name "acute. The white blood cell WBC count may be higher or lower than normal, but the WBCs that are being produced are immature and do not function well. Because WBCs are an important part of fighting infections, patients often have multiple infections that don't respond to treatment before they are diagnosed. Some people will have low red blood cell or platelet counts because the overpopulation of WBCs crowds out these cells. In most cases, the cause of ALL is unknown.
General Information About Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Epidemiology, Etiology, Clinical Presentation, and Diagnosis
Acute lymphocytic leukemia ALL is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. ALL is the most common childhood cancer. Children younger than age 5 have the highest risk. It can also occur in adults.
Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia ALL , a clonal expansion of hematopoietic blasts, is a highly heterogeneous disease comprising many entities for which distinct treatment strategies are pursued. Although ALL is a success story in pediatric oncology, results in adults lag behind those in children. An expansion of new drugs, more reliable immunologic and molecular techniques for the assessment of minimal residual disease, and efforts at more precise risk stratification are generating new aspects of adult ALL therapy. For this review, the authors summarized pertinent and recent literature on ALL biology and therapy, and they discuss current strategies and potential implications of novel approaches to the management of adult ALL. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia ALL remains 1 of the most challenging adult malignancies, especially with respect to therapy. Immunophenotyping, cytogenetic-molecular studies, and, more recently, high-resolution genome-wide screening are characterizing ALL as a heterogeneous disease with distinct manifestations and prognostic and therapeutic implications.
Overview Adult ALL is a malignant disease or cancer of the blood characterized by the rapid uncontrolled growth of abnormal, immature white blood cells known as lymphoblasts. The development of cytogenetic and molecular tests can now better define prognostic groups allowing for individualized treatment regimens for patients with high- and low-risk features. The potential benefits of receiving cancer treatment must be carefully balanced with the potential risks of receiving cancer treatment. The following is a general overview of the treatment of adult ALL. Circumstances unique to your situation and prognostic factors of your cancer may ultimately influence how these general treatment principles are applied. The information on this website is intended to help educate you about your treatment options and to facilitate a mutual or shared decision-making process with your treating cancer physician. Most new treatments are developed in clinical trials. Clinical trials are studies that evaluate the effectiveness of new drugs or treatment strategies.