Possible advances in leukemias and lymphomas can, in my opinion, derive from continued consideration of viral etiopathogenesis, possibly demonstrated by therapeutic impact of antiviral therapy. Terminology is in constant flux, and a classification based on biochemical (such as asparagine dependence) and immunologic (such as surface marker) characteristics should displace older terms such as chronic and acute. There is a constellation of neoplasms of lymphoid cells and their derivatives—leukemias, lymphomas, and plasmacytomas which need an integrated taxonomy. New diagnostic tests, new strategies of adapting therapy to tumor cell kinetics perturbed by the preceding treatment, and interesting clinical and preclinical combinations of drugs provide new basis for favorable expectations. Immunotherapy is just emerging as a potent therapeutic tool. A technique for standardizing clinical results of different institutions to the age and sex of the population who develop the disease in question is much needed. Controls in trials of leukemias and lymphomas are found to be dispensable if one is measuring qualitative differences; for quantitative assessment of remission frequency or response duration, however, controls are requisite.
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|Published - Aug 1978