Current Hematologic Malignancy Reports

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 91–99 | Cite as

Novel Therapies for Older Adults With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

  • Nicholas J. Short
  • Hagop Kantarjian
  • Elias Jabbour
  • Farhad Ravandi
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemias (K Ballen and M Keng, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Acute Lymphocytic Leukemias


Purpose of Review

Older adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have worse survival compared to their younger counterparts. Here, we review the reasons for the poorer outcomes of older patients with ALL and also summarize the current and future therapeutic approaches to ALL in the elderly population.

Recent Findings

The poor outcomes of older adults with ALL are driven largely by lack of tolerance to standard-dose chemotherapy, which leads to unacceptably high rates of myelosuppression-related deaths. Recent studies have shown promising results with the use of low-intensity or chemotherapy-free regimens in older patients with ALL, which are able to retain efficacy without excess toxicity.


Novel antibody constructs such as inotuzumab ozogamicin and blinatumomab as well as potent later-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as ponatinib hold significant promise in the management of ALL in the older adult. Innovative combination strategies may further improve the outcomes of these patients.


Acute lymphoblastic leukemia Older adults Elderly Inotuzumab ozogamicin Blinatumomab Philadelphia chromosome 


Funding Source

This study was supported by the MD Anderson Cancer Center Support Grant CA016672.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas J. Short
    • 1
  • Hagop Kantarjian
    • 1
  • Elias Jabbour
    • 1
  • Farhad Ravandi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Leukemia, Unit 428University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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