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B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia

Precursor B-cell lymphoblastic leukemia is a type of leukemia, characterized by the abnormal proliferation of B-precursor cells in the peripheral blood and bone marrow.

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Presentation

B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia is often preceded by a period of low- or middle-grade febrility, which can evince a duration of even months. The symptoms caused by the early stages of the disease are not pathognomonic and include anorexia, fatigue, weight loss or a developmental arrest in younger children.

When the malignancy is diagnosed, the abnormal proliferation of lymphoblasts in the bone marrow has already induced an arrest in the production of the other cell lines, namely erythrocytes, platelets and other white blood cells. This state of pancytopenia leads to a multitude of symptoms and signs that are also nonspecific and may include any of the following:

A specific sign that constitutes a warning of a potentially aggressive and refractory disease is telangiectasias on the bulbar conjunctiva in a child with B-ALL; those patients respond poorly to chemo- and radiotherapy.

Splenomegaly
  • 57%) 43 (43%) 0.257 Fever 144 (72.0%) 76 (76%) 68 (68%) 0.208 Infection 128 (64.0%) 66 (66%) 62 (%) 0.556 Bleeding 96 (48.0%) 45 (45%) 51 (51%) 0.396 Lymphadenopathy 112 (56.0%) 53 (53%) 59 (59%) 0.393 Hepatomegaly 84 (42.0%) 46 (46%) 38 (38%) 0.252 Splenomegaly[omicsonline.org]
  • Lymphadenopathy, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, arthralgia and bone pain are signs and symptoms also reported (1, 3, 6). The white blood cell count varies from decreased to sharply increased (7).[jbpml.org.br]
  • In some cases, this rapid cytokine release can even trigger hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis and macrophage activation syndrome, which are disorders of abnormal immune system activation characterized by high fever, splenomegaly, hyperferritinemia, hypertriglyceridemia[dovepress.com]
  • […] lymphadenopathy Symptoms related to a large mediastinal mass (eg, shortness of breath), particularly with T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (T-ALL) Bone pain (can be severe and often atypical) Left upper quadrant fullness and early satiety due to splenomegaly[emedicine.medscape.com]
Easy Bruising
  • Symptoms of ALL include: Frequent infections Fever Easy bruising Bleeding that is hard to stop Flat, dark-red skin spots (petechiae) due to bleeding under the skin Pain in the bones or joints Lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach or groin Pain or fullness[stjude.org]
  • bruising or bleeding bleeding under the skin shortness of breath weight loss or loss of appetite pain in the bones or stomach pain or a feeling of fullness below the ribs painless lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach, or groin tests that examine the[icd10data.com]
  • TRB / TRD TAL1 - TRA / TRB / TRD TAL1 - TCTA TCF3 - HLF TCF3 - PBX1 TCL1A - TRA TCL3 - TRD Symptoms & signs : leukocytosis ( 100,000/ m l in 10%) lymphadenomegaly, hepatosplenomegaly (50%), mediastinal involvement (15), anemia , fatigue, weight loss, easy[ufrgs.br]
Prolonged Bleeding
  • Fatigue, Weakness, or Decrease of Energy Shortness of Breath Continuous or Prolonged Bleeding from Minor Cuts Red Spots Beneath Skin: These spots are the size of pinheads.[knowcancer.com]
Anemia
  • We present the case of a 9-year-old girl from northwestern Greece admitted to our Hospital because of malaise, low-grade fever, intermittent hip joint pain, anemia, leukopenia and thrombocytopenia.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Frequently reported adverse events included thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, leukopenia, infection, anemia, hemorrhage, fatigue, fever, nausea, headache, liver damage, hyperbilirubinemia, and abdominal pain.[cancertherapyadvisor.com]
  • Adverse events The most common adverse reactions occurring in greater than 20% of patients were thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, infection, anemia, leukopenia, fatigue, hemorrhage, pyrexia, nausea, headache, febrile neutropenia, transaminases increased,[adcreview.com]
  • A shortage of red blood cells may cause symptoms of anemia, including: Fatigue or weakness Dizziness Feeling cold Light-headedness Shortness of breath A shortage of normal white blood cells may result in: Fevers Recurring infections A shortage of blood[webmd.com]
  • This state of pancytopenia leads to a multitude of symptoms and signs that are also nonspecific and may include any of the following: Pallor, fatigue and weakness, caused by anemia Recurring infections due to leukocytopenia Petechiae, epistaxis, hematuria[symptoma.com]
Fever
  • We present the case of a 9-year-old girl from northwestern Greece admitted to our Hospital because of malaise, low-grade fever, intermittent hip joint pain, anemia, leukopenia and thrombocytopenia.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • She was admitted to our hospital because of persistent fever. Bone marrow nuclear cell count on admission was 855,000/µL with 90.0% blastic cells of lymphoid morphology.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Frequently reported adverse events included thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, leukopenia, infection, anemia, hemorrhage, fatigue, fever, nausea, headache, liver damage, hyperbilirubinemia, and abdominal pain.[cancertherapyadvisor.com]
  • They include: Fatigue Fever Loss of appetite or weight Night sweats Many symptoms of acute lymphoblastic leukemia are the result of a shortage of normal blood cells. That's because leukemia cells crowd out these normal cells in the bone marrow.[webmd.com]
  • Signs and symptoms can include: Unexplained Fever Weight Loss Loss of Appetite Pale Skin Gum Bleeding Vomiting Unexplained Black-and-Blue Marks on Body Lumps Around Neck, Stomach, Underarm, or Groin: These lumps may be caused by swollen lymph nodes.[knowcancer.com]
Fatigue
  • The symptoms caused by the early stages of the disease are not pathognomonic and include anorexia, fatigue, weight loss or a developmental arrest in younger children.[symptoma.com]
  • Frequently reported adverse events included thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, leukopenia, infection, anemia, hemorrhage, fatigue, fever, nausea, headache, liver damage, hyperbilirubinemia, and abdominal pain.[cancertherapyadvisor.com]
  • They include: Fatigue Fever Loss of appetite or weight Night sweats Many symptoms of acute lymphoblastic leukemia are the result of a shortage of normal blood cells. That's because leukemia cells crowd out these normal cells in the bone marrow.[webmd.com]
  • Fatigue, Weakness, or Decrease of Energy Shortness of Breath Continuous or Prolonged Bleeding from Minor Cuts Red Spots Beneath Skin: These spots are the size of pinheads.[knowcancer.com]
  • Adverse events The most common adverse reactions occurring in greater than 20% of patients were thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, infection, anemia, leukopenia, fatigue, hemorrhage, pyrexia, nausea, headache, febrile neutropenia, transaminases increased,[adcreview.com]
Pain
  • We present the case of a 9-year-old girl from northwestern Greece admitted to our Hospital because of malaise, low-grade fever, intermittent hip joint pain, anemia, leukopenia and thrombocytopenia.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Symptoms of ALL include: Frequent infections Fever Easy bruising Bleeding that is hard to stop Flat, dark-red skin spots (petechiae) due to bleeding under the skin Pain in the bones or joints Lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach or groin Pain or fullness[stjude.org]
  • Frequently reported adverse events included thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, leukopenia, infection, anemia, hemorrhage, fatigue, fever, nausea, headache, liver damage, hyperbilirubinemia, and abdominal pain.[cancertherapyadvisor.com]
  • […] in the bones or stomach pain or a feeling of fullness below the ribs painless lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach, or groin tests that examine the blood and bone marrow diagnose all.[icd10data.com]
  • […] events The most common adverse reactions occurring in greater than 20% of patients were thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, infection, anemia, leukopenia, fatigue, hemorrhage, pyrexia, nausea, headache, febrile neutropenia, transaminases increased, abdominal pain[adcreview.com]
Weakness
  • The patient developed sensory changes, later on motor weakness, and eventually paraplegia. An emergent MRI scan showed an intraspinal mass at the level of T9 vertebra.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Results presented here suggest that although expression of TCR genes was weak in B-precursor ALL cells compared with T-lineage cells, these genes experience both transcriptional and recombinational crossover in B-precursor ALL.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • This state of pancytopenia leads to a multitude of symptoms and signs that are also nonspecific and may include any of the following: Pallor, fatigue and weakness, caused by anemia Recurring infections due to leukocytopenia Petechiae, epistaxis, hematuria[symptoma.com]
  • Her weakness and vision have improved. FIGURE 2 The fundi of (A) the right eye and (B) the left eye by funduscopic examination.[current-oncology.com]
  • Fatigue, Weakness, or Decrease of Energy Shortness of Breath Continuous or Prolonged Bleeding from Minor Cuts Red Spots Beneath Skin: These spots are the size of pinheads.[knowcancer.com]
Cough
  • For the most common adverse events (greater than or equal to 10 percent incidence rate) in the BLINCYTO arm, only three events (cough, pyrexia, cytokine release syndrome) occurred at an incidence rate that was at least 5 percent higher for BLINCYTO compared[prnewswire.com]
  • For the most common adverse events (greater than or equal to 10 percent incidence rate) in the BLINCYTO arm, six events (pyrexia, infusion-related reaction, cough, cytokine release syndrome, tremor, decreased immunoglobulins) occurred at an incidence[amgen.com]
Dyspnea
  • Signs and symptoms Signs and symptoms of ALL include the following: Fever Signs and symptoms of anemia, such as pallor, fatigue, dizziness, palpitations, cardiac flow murmur, and dyspnea with even mild exertion Bleeding Blood clots Palpable lymphadenopathy[emedicine.medscape.com]
Abdominal Pain
  • Frequently reported adverse events included thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, leukopenia, infection, anemia, hemorrhage, fatigue, fever, nausea, headache, liver damage, hyperbilirubinemia, and abdominal pain.[cancertherapyadvisor.com]
  • pain, gamma-glutamyltransferase increased, and hyperbilirubinemia.[adcreview.com]
  • The most common ( 2%) serious adverse reactions associated with BESPONSA were infection (23%), febrile neutropenia (11%), haemorrhage (5%), abdominal pain (3%), pyrexia (3%), veno-occlusive disease/sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (VOD/SOS) (2%), and fatigue[pfizer.com]
  • pain and high levels of bilirubin in the blood (hyperbilirubinemia).[fda.gov]
Vomiting
  • Skeletal pain Neurological symptoms, such as headaches, seizures or vomiting; these may indicate the involvement of the central nervous system.[symptoma.com]
  • Signs and symptoms can include: Unexplained Fever Weight Loss Loss of Appetite Pale Skin Gum Bleeding Vomiting Unexplained Black-and-Blue Marks on Body Lumps Around Neck, Stomach, Underarm, or Groin: These lumps may be caused by swollen lymph nodes.[knowcancer.com]
  • […] cells are present, other symptoms may include: A full or swollen belly from leukemia cells in the liver or spleen Enlarged lymph nodes such as in the neck or groin, under arms, or above the collarbone Bone or joint pain Headache, trouble with balance, vomiting[webmd.com]
  • CASE REPORT An 8-year-old girl was admitted to the pediatric emergency with bone and abdominal pain associated with vomiting, fever, and headache.[jbpml.org.br]
Loss of Appetite
  • Signs and symptoms can include: Unexplained Fever Weight Loss Loss of Appetite Pale Skin Gum Bleeding Vomiting Unexplained Black-and-Blue Marks on Body Lumps Around Neck, Stomach, Underarm, or Groin: These lumps may be caused by swollen lymph nodes.[knowcancer.com]
  • They include: Fatigue Fever Loss of appetite or weight Night sweats Many symptoms of acute lymphoblastic leukemia are the result of a shortage of normal blood cells. That's because leukemia cells crowd out these normal cells in the bone marrow.[webmd.com]
  • […] of appetite pain in the bones or stomach pain or a feeling of fullness below the ribs painless lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach, or groin tests that examine the blood and bone marrow diagnose all.[icd10data.com]
Bleeding Gums
  • gums, or other unusual bleeding such as from minor cuts Depending upon where leukemia cells are present, other symptoms may include: A full or swollen belly from leukemia cells in the liver or spleen Enlarged lymph nodes such as in the neck or groin,[webmd.com]
Hepatosplenomegaly
  • Hepatosplenomegaly Enlarged lymph nodes A specific sign that constitutes a warning of a potentially aggressive and refractory disease is telangiectasias on the bulbar conjunctiva in a child with B-ALL; those patients respond poorly to chemo- and radiotherapy[symptoma.com]
  • She displayed hepatosplenomegaly and pleural and abdominal effusions without lymphadenopathy. Lactate dehydrogenase (10,554 U/L; normal range 106–211 U/L) was elevated.[journals.lww.com]
  • Other features associated with high tumor burden, such as hepatosplenomegaly and mediastinal mass, are also associated with a greater risk of relapse.[ufrgs.br]
Hepatomegaly
  • Females 106 (53%) 94 (47%) 49 (49%) 51 (51%) 57 (57%) 43 (43%) 0.257 Fever 144 (72.0%) 76 (76%) 68 (68%) 0.208 Infection 128 (64.0%) 66 (66%) 62 (%) 0.556 Bleeding 96 (48.0%) 45 (45%) 51 (51%) 0.396 Lymphadenopathy 112 (56.0%) 53 (53%) 59 (59%) 0.393 Hepatomegaly[omicsonline.org]
  • Lymphadenopathy, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, arthralgia and bone pain are signs and symptoms also reported (1, 3, 6). The white blood cell count varies from decreased to sharply increased (7).[jbpml.org.br]
  • Multivariate analysis identified male sex, hepatomegaly, CNS-2 status, and age younger than 2 or older than 6 years as significant predictors of isolated CNS (iCNS) relapse.[ufrgs.br]
Petechiae
  • Symptoms of ALL include: Frequent infections Fever Easy bruising Bleeding that is hard to stop Flat, dark-red skin spots (petechiae) due to bleeding under the skin Pain in the bones or joints Lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach or groin Pain or fullness[stjude.org]
  • This state of pancytopenia leads to a multitude of symptoms and signs that are also nonspecific and may include any of the following: Pallor, fatigue and weakness, caused by anemia Recurring infections due to leukocytopenia Petechiae, epistaxis, hematuria[symptoma.com]
  • […] atypical) Left upper quadrant fullness and early satiety due to splenomegaly (about 10% of cases) Symptoms of leukostasis (eg, respiratory distress, altered mental status) Renal failure in patients with a high tumor burden Infections, including pneumonia Petechiae[emedicine.medscape.com]
Night Sweats
  • They include: Fatigue Fever Loss of appetite or weight Night sweats Many symptoms of acute lymphoblastic leukemia are the result of a shortage of normal blood cells. That's because leukemia cells crowd out these normal cells in the bone marrow.[webmd.com]
  • Accelerated phase of CML Children whose CML is in accelerated phase may have symptoms such as fever, night sweats, poor appetite, and weight loss. CML in the accelerated phase might not respond as well to treatment as CML in the chronic phase.[cancer.org]
Bone Pain
  • Bone pain is relatively common and described in approximately 50% of patients (1, 7). Pain may also occur in the course of the disease or during treatment.[jbpml.org.br]
  • pain (can be severe and often atypical) Left upper quadrant fullness and early satiety due to splenomegaly (about 10% of cases) Symptoms of leukostasis (eg, respiratory distress, altered mental status) Renal failure in patients with a high tumor burden[emedicine.medscape.com]
  • pain (5%) hospitalization (18%), median time to recovery of granulocytes (20 days) cycles 2, 4, 6, and 8 : sepsis (11%), pneumonia (5%), mucositis (5%), FUO (23%), ctrabine-associated fever (6%), neurotoxicity (5%), rash (5%), rash and desquamation of[ufrgs.br]
Myalgia
  • […] cytokines IL-10, IL-6, and interferon-gamma after rapid lysis of tumor cells by activated T-cells, which typically happens during the first days of the first blinatumomab infusion. 12 Reactions are mostly mild flu-like symptoms, such as pyrexia, chills, and myalgia[dovepress.com]
  • Treatment with CAR T cells has been associated with cytokine release syndrome, which can be life-threatening.[ 134 , 135 ] Cytokine release syndrome presents as fever, headache, myalgias, hypotension, capillary leak, hypoxia, and renal dysfunction.[cancer.gov]
Arthralgia
  • Lymphadenopathy, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, arthralgia and bone pain are signs and symptoms also reported (1, 3, 6). The white blood cell count varies from decreased to sharply increased (7).[jbpml.org.br]
Epistaxis
  • This state of pancytopenia leads to a multitude of symptoms and signs that are also nonspecific and may include any of the following: Pallor, fatigue and weakness, caused by anemia Recurring infections due to leukocytopenia Petechiae, epistaxis, hematuria[symptoma.com]
Hematuria
  • This state of pancytopenia leads to a multitude of symptoms and signs that are also nonspecific and may include any of the following: Pallor, fatigue and weakness, caused by anemia Recurring infections due to leukocytopenia Petechiae, epistaxis, hematuria[symptoma.com]
Headache
  • Skeletal pain Neurological symptoms, such as headaches, seizures or vomiting; these may indicate the involvement of the central nervous system.[symptoma.com]
  • Frequently reported adverse events included thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, leukopenia, infection, anemia, hemorrhage, fatigue, fever, nausea, headache, liver damage, hyperbilirubinemia, and abdominal pain.[cancertherapyadvisor.com]
  • The most common adverse events were pyrexia (58%), febrile neutropenia (40%), and headache (31%).[ascopost.com]
  • The most common ( 10%) manifestations of neurological toxicity were headache, tremor, dizziness, and altered state of consciousness.[prnewswire.com]
  • Aching of Legs, Back, or Arms Headaches Recurrent or Frequent Infections Severe or Frequent Nosebleeds Diagnosis About 5,430 people within the United States are thought to have been diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia within the last year; most[knowcancer.com]
Seizure
  • Major toxicities were grade 3 seizures in one patient and grade 3 cytokine release syndrome in 2 patients.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Serious grade 3/4 neurotoxicity, principally characterized by seizures, was observed in 7.6% of patients treated with either regimen.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • […] present, other symptoms may include: A full or swollen belly from leukemia cells in the liver or spleen Enlarged lymph nodes such as in the neck or groin, under arms, or above the collarbone Bone or joint pain Headache, trouble with balance, vomiting, seizures[webmd.com]
  • Skeletal pain Neurological symptoms, such as headaches, seizures or vomiting; these may indicate the involvement of the central nervous system.[symptoma.com]
  • Onset of symptoms usually occurred around the seventh day of the first cycle of treatment. 21 In one Phase II trial, blinatumomab was permanently discontinued in one patient due to a grade 3 seizure, which fully resolved within 1 day after stopping the[dovepress.com]

Workup

B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia is diagnosed via a complete blood count, that reveals pancytopenia, a bone marrow biopsy and a smear of the peripheral blood.

More specifically, peripheral blood is found to contain cells with a hypoplastic cytoplasm and comparatively oversized nuclei. The nuclei themselves typically encompass chromatin arranged in large bundles and their shape ranges from round to oval. Vacuoles or granules may also be observed in a microscopic analysis and the cytoplasm is basophilic. On the other hand, a histologic examination of the bone marrow sample is expected to reveal hypercellular characteristics, even though it may by hypocellular or normocellular under some circumstances. Alterations are diffuse and consist of lymphoblasts with hypoplastic cytoplasm and restricted size. As far as normal cells are concerned, a small number of erythroblasts can be detected; normal cells are largely eliminated. Chromatin is characterized by excessive condensation and wide dispersion.

Diagnosis is completed with a cytogenetic analysis, in order to pinpoint the DNA structure, chromosome number, rearrangements and mutations that are associated with B-ALL [20].

Treatment

All types of acute lymphoblastic leukemia are treated according to a specific protocol and B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia constitutes no exception. The particular details of the treatment may be decided based on the type of genetic mutation and other individualized characteristics of the malignancy. Treatment is initiated with an induction phase, which includes various chemotherapeutic and other agents, such as doxorubicin, vincristine, cyclophosphamide, and prednisone. The induction phase is followed by a consolidation phase after remission has been confirmed, whose purpose is to intensify therapy with drugs such as cytarabine and methotrexate. Finally, a long maintenance phase is required, which may contain cycles of intensified induction therapy, since it can greatly contribute to the ultimate therapeutic goal.

Prophylaxis of the central nervous system is mandatory and is achieved with triple intrathecal therapy; the previous option which involved cranial radiation is gradually being rejected due to the negative effect it can have on the CNS [21] [22] [23]. Antimicrobial and antifungal medications are also administered to patients with profound leukocytopenia, as prophylaxis [24]. The ultimate therapeutic option is stem cell transplantation, which is employed in a relative minority of the cases, approximately in 6% of all patients.

Prognosis

B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia is widely viewed in a more positive prognostic light when compared to T-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia [18]. One of the factors that greatly influence the outcome are the exact genetic modifications that are held accountable for the malignancy. More specifically, subtypes with a better-expected outcome are associated with:

  • Translocation t(12;21) (TEL-AML1(ETV6-RUNX1))
  • Translocation t(1;19) (TCF3-PBX1)
  • Hyperdiploidy with over 51 chromosomes

On the other hand, genetic alterations that negatively affect prognosis include:

  • Hypodiploidy with less than 44 chromosomes
  • Translocation t(9;22) (BCR-ABL1)
  • Translocation t(4;11) (MLL-AF4) during infancy

A second factor that can determine the outcome is the extent of minimal residual disease (MRD) on the 15th to 19th day of the initial, induction therapy: 1% of MRD during these days and less than 0.01% MRD at the end of the therapy is associated with a better long-term survival and the patients are considered to be low-risk [19]. Other factors that are linked with a better prognosis include the age of onset between 1 and 9 years old and leukocyte count below 50,000.

Etiology

The majority of acute lymphoblastic leukemia cases that occur in childhood are induced by genetic defects that can be detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization and karyotyping [6]. In B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia open link the genetic background that leads to the onset of the disease includes the following:

  • Translocation t(12;21)(p13;q22) (ETV6-RUNX1 (TEL-AML1))
  • Translocation t(9;22)(q34;q11) (BCR-ABL1)
  • Translocation t(4;11)(q21;q23) (MLL-AFF1(AF4))
  • Hyperdiploidy

Epidemiology

B-ALL is categorized under the broader group of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is the type of cancer most frequently diagnosed in children in an international scale. ALL has been evincing a gradually increasing incidence during the past decades, with individuals of Hispanic ethnicity being more susceptible to developing the disease, followed by Caucasian patients [7] [8].

Similarly to ALL in general, B-ALL is more commonly diagnosed during the ages of 1 to 4 and constitutes the most frequent cause of death amongst children affected by malignancy. The disease exhibits a clear predilection for male patients. From a prognostic aspect, the dimmest prognosis accompanies occurrences in infancy, with the rest of the pediatric cases followed by a high event-free survival (EFS) rate [9] [10] [11] [12].

Sex distribution
Age distribution

Pathophysiology

Hematopoiesis is the process through which every blood cell is produced by the hematopoietic stem cells (hemocytoblasts), in the bone marrow. It is a complicated procedure that is completed in a staged fashion and is strictly regulated by various transcription factors and signal transduction [13]. B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a subtype of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and specifically targets the B precursor cells; the latter are derived from the common lymphoid progenitor cells and subsequently give rise to B cells after the maturation process has been completed.

In B-ALL specifically, a developmental arrest is observed in the stage of B-precursor differentiation, which is attributed to various genetic mutations and leads to a considerable heterogeneity on a clinical scale. The mutations known to underlie the clonal disease include hyperdiploidy with over 40 or 50 chromosomes, translocations such as t(12;21), t(1;19) and t(4;11) and other genetic mutations [14] [15]. It is, however, known that the genetic defects alone are not able to initiate the malignant proliferation of cells: it has been hypothesized that defects in the modification of chromatin, tumor suppression and the regulation of the cellular cycle are mandatory in order for the malignancy to fully develop into B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia [16] [17].

Prevention

The genetic mutations that underlie B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia cannot be prevented. However, any individual can minimize their chances of suffering from B-ALL, if they avoid certain risk factors that have been associated with the malignancy. Those risk factors include exposure to benzene, high dose ionizing radiation and smoking.

Summary

B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) is classified under the category of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). ALL generally encompasses the wider cancer group of B-cell malignancies, one of which is B-ALL. B-cell leukemia is more commonly diagnosed during childhood and 75% of the cases affect children that are below the age of 6 years old.

Depending on cellular morphology, the FAB classification divides acute lymphoblastic leukemias into 3 categories, namely L1, L2 and L3. L1 comprises round-shaped blasts with clumped chromatin. L2 is the type of leukemia characterized by larger cells with a more delicate arrangement of chromatin and L3 cells contain vacuoles and are generally larger. B-precursor leukemia is an L1 or L2 type malignancy, with cells that express the B-cell antigens and/or surface light chains [1] [2].

The malignancy is characterized by an abnormal genetic background which includes various diverse translocations, hypo- or hyperdiploidy. The Philadelphia chromosome might also be present, and so can the MYC rearrangement [3] [4] [5].

B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia is diagnosed with a standard complete blood count (CBC), which will reveal pancytopenia. The symptoms related to this type of cancer are non-pathognomonic and include manifestations of the existent pancytopenia, such as pallor, fatigue, bleeding tendencies and recurrent infections. Treatment is standardized and aggressive, as it consists of an induction, consolidation and long maintenance phase, which are all met with success in the majority of the cases. Cases of non-responsive B-ALL are treated with a stem cell transplantation, although a relative minority of the patients are required to undergo such a procedure.

Patient Information

Production of cellular components: red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells takes place in the bone marrow. The process through which every single cell is produced is called hematopoiesis. It is a complex procedure that involves a single type of original bone marrow cell, the hematopoietic stem cell, which undergoes differentiation and produces the final, mature lines of blood cells. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a type of cancer which causes an increased production of lymphoblasts, which fail to differentiate into mature T or B lymphocytes. B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) is a subtype of ALL, which leads to an abnormally overproduced line of those cells that differentiate into B lymphocytes. The malignant cells display developmental arrest, in the sense that their maturation process is halted at a prime period. This phenomenon causes a failure of the bone marrow to produce normal lymphocytes and at the same time prevents the other cellular components from developing too.

B-ALL is a result of various genetic mutations and other abnormalities. Additional defects in physiological procedures that have not yet been completely defined also play a role in the onset of the disease. Risk factors that have been associated with B-LL include high dose ionizing radiation, benzene exposure, and smoking.

As mentioned before, B-LL leads to the inability of the bone marrow to produce all three lines of cells: platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells. Consequently, patients affected by the malignancy present with a multitude of non-specific symptoms related to these deficiencies. The most common symptoms associated with B-LL are:

B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia is diagnosed with blood tests that reveal decreased levels of blood cellular components. It is also required to perform a bone marrow biopsy, as well as a blood smear; the latter is used to observe the shape and structure of the blood cells under a microscope. Finally, genetic testing in order to identify the exact genetic mutation is also mandatory for a definitive diagnosis to be made. B-ALL is treated like all types of ALL, with chemotherapy. Treatment consists of an induction stage, which comprises various medications and, after the disease has subsided, a second round of therapy is administered, which is called the consolidation stage. This is an intensified cycle of chemotherapeutic agents. Treatment is completed with the administration of the final round of therapy, called maintenance therapy; it can last for quite a long time. Due to the aggressive type of treatment that has been designated for B-ALL, the results are usually positive, with patients achieving high survival rates and complete remission. In cases where chemotherapeutic aggressive treatment fails to cure the disease, a stem cell transplantation can be attempted, although it is a last resort therapy reserved for refractory and unresponsive cases.

References

Article

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Last updated: 2019-07-11 19:57