Acute myeloid leukemia in children: Current status and future directions

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Abstract

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) accounts for 25% of pediatric leukemia and affects approximately 180 patients annually in Japan. The treatment outcome for pediatric AML has improved through advances in chemotherapy, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), supportive care, and optimal risk stratification. Currently, clinical pediatric AML studies are conducted separately according to the AML subtypes: de novo AML, acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), and myeloid leukemia with Down syndrome (ML-DS). Children with de novo AML are treated mainly with anthracyclines and cytarabine, in some cases with HSCT, and the overall survival (OS) rate now approaches 70%. Children with APL are treated with an all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA)-combined regimen with an 80–90% OS. Children with ML-DS are treated with a less intensive regimen compared with non-DS patients, and the OS is approximately 80%. HSCT in first remission is restricted to children with high-risk de novo AML only. To further improve outcomes, it will be necessary to combine more accurate risk stratification strategies using molecular genetic analysis with assessment of minimum residual disease, and the introduction of new drugs in international collaborative clinical trials.

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