A step forward in acute lymphoblastic leukemia
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most frequent pediatric malignant disease. It originates in a single B- (85%) or T-lymphocyte (15%) progenitor. With a current cure rate of childhood ALL of more than 80% in developed countries, the evolution of therapies for this disease is one of the unprecedented success stories in the history of modern medicine. Yet, there are subgroups of children with ALL who have lower chances to be cured, such as patients with slow initial response to therapy. The most important criteria determining slow response to initial chemotherapy include: poor response after one week prednisolone therapy (occurring in 8-9% of patients), and persistence of minimal residual disease (MRD) after one-month induction therapy (usually in 20-30% of patients).