The Biology of AYA Cancers

  • James V. TricoliEmail author
  • Archie Bleyer
  • Jakob Anninga
  • Ronald Barr
Part of the Pediatric Oncology book series (PEDIATRICO)


Investigating the potential biological basis of age-related differences in outcome for AYA with cancer could lead to a better understanding of the biology, facilitate the development of new diagnostic and predictive markers, and identify novel therapeutic targets and treatment approaches for AYA patients. The evidence that cancers in AYA patients may differ biologically from those in older and younger populations includes data from numerous laboratories. However, much of this evidence is preliminary, and large comprehensive studies to confirm and validate these findings are only now beginning to get underway. Indeed, there may be substantial differences in biological and molecular features between different age groups even within the population of AYA patients with a specific cancer type. If age is a good surrogate for a unique tumor biology associated with AYA cancers, then studies of cancers in AYA patients will almost certainly illuminate alternative tumorigenic pathways and will also likely benefit patients in other age groups whose tumors exhibit similar biological/molecular features. The biologic, molecular, and clinical features of five AYA cancers (colon, breast, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, melanoma, and sarcoma) are highlighted in this chapter, and the current state of research for each of them is examined. What will be required to better diagnose, treat, and predict response in patients with AYA cancer is also discussed.


Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Synovial Sarcoma Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Ewing Sarcoma Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Cary K. Anders, M.D.

Associate Professor of Medicine

Division of Hematology Oncology

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Donald G. Blair, Ph.D.

Division of Cancer Biology

National Cancer Institute

9609 Medical Center Drive

Rockville, M.D. 20892

Lisa A. Boardman, M.D.

Professor of Medicine

Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

200 First Street SW

Rochester, MN 55906

Brandon Hayes-Lattin, M.D., F.A.C.P.

Associate Professor of Medicine

Medical Director, Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program

Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology

Knight Cancer Institute

Oregon Health and Science University

3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road

Portland, OR 97239

Stephan P. Hunger, M.D.

Chief, Division of Oncology

Director, Center for Childhood Cancer Research

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

3501 Civic Center Boulevard, CTRB#3060

Philadelphia, PA 19104

Javed Khan, M.D.

Deputy Chief, Genetics Branch

Center for Cancer Research

National Cancer Institute

Pediatric Oncology Branch

Bethesda, M.D. 20892

Shivaani Kummar, M.D.

Professor of Medicine

Director, Phase I Clinical Research ProgramStanford University School of Medicine

780 Welch Road,

Room CJ250L

Palo Alto, CA 94304

Melinda Merchant, M.D., Ph.D.

Center for Cancer Research

National Cancer Institute

Pediatric Oncology Branch

Bethesda, M.D. 20892

Nita L. Seibel, M.D.

Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program

Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis

National Cancer Institute

9609 Medical Center Drive

Rockville, M.D. 20892

Magdalena Thurin, Ph.D.

Cancer Diagnosis Program

Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis

National Cancer Institute

9609 Medical Center Drive

Rockville, M.D. 20892

Cheryl Willman, M.D.

The Maurice and Marguerite Liberman Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research

Professor of Pathology

University of New Mexico School of Medicine Director and CEO

University of New Mexico Cancer Center

1201 Camino de Salud NE

Albuquerque, NM 87131


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • James V. Tricoli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Archie Bleyer
    • 2
  • Jakob Anninga
    • 3
  • Ronald Barr
    • 4
  1. 1.Diagnostic Biomarkers and Technology Branch, Division of Cancer Treatment and DiagnosisNational Cancer Institute, NIHBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Radiation MedicineOregon Health and Sciences UniversityBendUSA
  3. 3.Department of Clinical OncologyLeiden University Medical CentreLeidenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Departments of Pediatrics, Pathology and MedicineMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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