Potential of gene expression profiling in the management of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Deepa Bhojwani, Naomi Moskowitz, Elizabeth A. Raetz, William L. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a heterogeneous disease. Current treatment approaches are tailored according to the clinical features of the host, genotypic features of the leukemic blast, and early response to therapy. Although these approaches have been successful in dramatically improving outcomes, approximately 20% of children with ALL still relapse and many of these children do not have an identifiable adverse risk factor at presentation. Further insights into the biologic basis of the disease may contribute to novel, rational treatment strategies. Childhood ALL has served as an example for demonstrating the feasibility and potential of high-throughput technologies such as global gene expression or transcript profiling. In the last decade or so, utilization of these techniques has grown exponentially. As the methodology undergoes refinement and validation, it is plausible that microarrays may be used in the routine management of childhood ALL in the next few years. This article discusses the numerous applications to date of gene expression profiling in childhood ALL. Multiple investigators have made it evident that microarrays can be used as a single platform for the accurate classification of ALL into the various cytogenetic subtypes. Additional promising utilities include prediction of early response to therapy, overall outcome, and adverse effects. Identification of patients who are predicted to have an unfavorable outcome may allow for early intervention such as intensification of therapy or avoidance of drugs that are associated with specific secondary effects such as therapy-related acute myelogenous leukemia. Knowledge has been gained into pathways contributing to leukemogenesis and chemoresistance. Therapeutic targets have been identified, some of which are entering clinical trials following validation in additional preclinical models. These newer methods of genome analyses complemented by studies involving the proteome as well as host polymorphisms will have a profound impact on the diagnosis and management of childhood ALL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-156
Number of pages8
JournalPaediatric Drugs
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007


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