Acute lymphoblastic leukemia in adolescents and young adults

Josep Maria Ribera, Pilar Bastida

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review


The primary objective of the review was to update and discuss the current concepts and the results of the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in adolescent and young adults. After a brief consideration of the epidemiologic and clinical/biological characteristics of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the adolescent and young adult population, the main retrospective comparative studies reporting the superiority of pediatric-based over adult-based protocols were reviewed. Data from the most important prospective studies in young adults using pediatric-inspired protocols showed feasibility up to the age of 40 years and promising results, with event-free survival rates of 60-65%. Finally, recent results of trials in pediatric groups have shown that the unfavorable prognosis of adolescents is disappearing and most older adolescents with acute lymphoblastic leukemia can be cured with risk-adjusted and minimal residual disease-guided intensive chemotherapy without stem cell transplantation. In addition, in adolescent acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients submitted to stem cell transplantation for relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the prognosis is equivalent to that of younger patients. The advances in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in adolescents will hopefully be translated to young adults in the near future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-91
JournalCancer and Chemotherapy Reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012


  • Acute leukemia
  • Adolescent
  • Lymphoblastic
  • Young adults


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