Study of leukemia survivors gives hints for better care

Armen Hareyan's picture

St. Jude study shows survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia are increasingly likely to develop second tumors during adulthood, demonstrating the value of long-term patient follow-up in designing safer treatments

Results from the longest follow-up study ever done of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) survivors show the importance of long-term monitoring of former patients to identify complications they are at risk for developing later in life and to modify current treatments to reduce those risks, according to investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common cancer in children and adolescents - with about 3,000 new cases diagnosed yearly in the United States.


The St. Jude study showed that adults who had received treatment for ALL during childhood are at increased risk for developing a secondary neoplasm during the next 30 years. Secondary neoplasms are new tumors that develop after successful treatment of an initial cancer.

A report on this work appears in the March 21 issue of the "Journal of the American Medical Association" ("JAMA").

The finding is important because the cure rate of children treated for