Genomics of racial and ethnic disparities in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Authors

  • Joshua Yew-Suang Lim BSc,

    1. Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee
    2. Department of Pediatrics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
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  • Smita Bhatia MD, MPH,

    1. Department of Population Sciences, City of Hope, Duarte, California
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  • Leslie L. Robison PhD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee
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  • Jun J. Yang PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee
    • Corresponding author: Jun J. Yang, PhD, Pharmaceutical Sciences, MS313, Room I5104, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105-3678; Fax: (901) 595-8869; jun.yang@stjude.org

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  • We thank Sharon Naron for her editorial assistance.

Abstract

Although the cure rates of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have improved dramatically in the past 40 years, not all children have benefited equally from this impressive progress. Racial and ethnic disparities in the incidence and treatment outcome of childhood ALL persist, with Hispanic children having an elevated risk of developing ALL and one of the lowest survival rates after ALL therapy. A critical barrier to progress is the lack of an understanding of the causes of ALL disparities, particularly racial and ethnic differences in ALL biology. In this review, the authors summarize the current knowledge on population variation in childhood ALL incidence and treatment outcome, discuss the contributing genetic and nongenetic variables, and highlight possible therapeutic interventions to mitigate disparities in ALL. Cancer 2014;120:955–962. © 2013 American Cancer Society.

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