Leukemia in Children

by Brian Alverson, MD

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    00:01 In this lecture, we will review leukemia in children.

    00:04 So, leukemia is the malignant transformation and proliferation of hematopoietic cells.

    00:11 So we have acute leukemia which is a clonal expansion of immature precursors, and we have chronic leukemia which is mature bone marrow components that are then becoming clonal.

    00:25 So, symptoms can occur from a lack of normal bone marrow cell production or from accumulation of malignant cells in tissues that otherwise shouldn't have them.

    00:38 So let's go through the epidemiology of leukemia in children.

    00:42 It is the most common pediatric malignancy.

    00:46 Thirty percent of all newly diagnosed children with cancer have leukemia, and boys typically get it a little bit more than girls.

    00:56 So we break down leukemia typically in kids into four major types.

    01:02 By far and away the most common types are the first two.

    01:06 Let's go through these. First we have acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

    01:11 Acute lymphoblastic leukemia or ALL is very common in kids.

    01:17 It's a proliferation of B and T cell lymphocyte precursors, like you can see here.

    01:24 It typically happens in children between the age of 2 and 5 and again boys a little more commonly than girls.

    01:31 Caucasians are at greatest risk for ALL.

    01:35 Comparing that to AML which is acute myelogenous leukemia.

    01:42 AML is a clonal proliferation of myeloid precursors.

    01:48 So there are many subtypes of AML based on the morphology of the cells that are growing and the cytogenic translocations that have occurred which cause these cells to become clonal in nature.

    02:00 There is a generally bimodal incidence in terms of when children get this disease.

    02:06 There's one peak in little, tiny kids under 2 years of age and then again at adolescence.

    02:11 And this for AML, unlike ALL, the rate in boys and girls is about the same and this is associated with some toxic exposures, also some genetic predispositions.

    02:24 For example, children with Down syndrome have a 50-fold increase in their risk for AML, remember that, Down syndrome and AML, strong association.

    02:37 Now we would switch gears to chronic disease and this is chronic myelogenous leukemia which is less common in kids.

    02:46 This is an uncontrolled growth of myeloid cells and the incidence increases through childhood and adolescence.

    02:53 Often these patients have a fusion protein, the BCR-ABL gene.

    02:58 This constitutively activates tyrosine kinase, the mutation in this translocation between chromosome 9 and chromosome 22 causes a continuously on activation of tyrosine kinase.

    03:14 And lastly, we'll talk very briefly about the very mild form of leukemia which is juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia or JMML.

    03:25 JMML is very rare.

    03:28 It's usually diagnosed before the age of 3 and the etiology is basically unknown.

    03:35 It is associated, however, with a few genetic conditions like Down syndrome, neurofibromatosis, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and Fanconi anemia.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Leukemia in Children by Brian Alverson, MD is from the course Pediatric Oncology.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Trisomy 21
    2. DiGeorge syndrome
    3. Trisomy 18
    4. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
    5. Klippel-Feil syndrome
    1. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
    2. Acute myeloid leukemia
    3. Neuroblastoma
    4. Wilms tumor
    5. Retinoblastoma
    1. It is more common in children than in adults.
    2. It is associated with toxic exposures
    3. It is more common in patients with Down syndrome.
    4. It is a clonal proliferation of myeloid precursors.
    5. It is less common than acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

    Author of lecture Leukemia in Children

     Brian Alverson, MD

    Brian Alverson, MD

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    By Jalil Z. on 23. August 2020 for Leukemia in Children

    Best lecture I have had on the topic which is often explained by specialists with too much details and not comprehensive enough.

    By Nourhanne A. on 20. May 2019 for Leukemia in Children

    Nice informative useful simple nice illustrations nice lecturer voice tone and accent