The self-stated mission of Clinical Malignant Hematology is to provide a comprehensive and clinically focused guide to the management of patients with hematologic malignancies. For this 1,201-page hardcover book (printed on acid-free paper), the editors have assembled an international panel of experts who are well-regarded and well-known in their fields. The chapters provide comprehensive yet concise summaries of the most pertinent clinical disease entities in malignant hematology, and are universally well-written.
The book is divided into four disease-based parts plus one segment on stem cell transplantation and another on special topics pertinent to the patient with malignant hematologic disorders. Within each major segment, there is the expected attention to epidemiology, molecular biology, and treatment of patients based on disease status (ie, treatment-naive, relapsed/refractory). An increase in the numbers of tables or the inclusion of practice guidelines would have been helpful in the treatment chapters.
The inclusion of whole chapters dedicated to "Making the Diagnosis" and "Definition of Remission, Prognosis, and Follow-up" is a nice touch. These chapters are geared toward practical applications of evolving technology that has deepened the ability to detect mimimal residual disease. The chapters on leukemia describe remission-defining methods based on cytogenetics, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The chapters on lymphoma also include an update on the use of functional imaging techniques such as 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron-emission tomography (FDG-PET).
Nearly each major part ends with a section entitled "Special Topics in..." This allows the opportunity to present additional areas of interest relevant to specific diseases, such as the management of long-term Hodgkin lymphoma survivors or the acute clinical complications of multiple myeloma. An entire chapter is devoted to therapy-related myelodysplasia and leukemiaan increasingly recognized price for long-term survival in cancer patients. There is also a chapter dedicated to the evolving role and increasing use of functional imaging modalities, complementing the chapters on Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The final segment of the book, entitled "Special Topics in Neoplastic Hematology," examines special populations of patients such as pregnant women and those wishing to preserve fertility. A chapter emphasizing the care of elderly patients with hematologic cancers could have been included here, but there is some attention paid to this issue in disease-specific parts of the textbook.
Many of the chapters include photomicrographs of histopathology, and it would have been extremely helpful to publish these in color. The black-and-white nonglossy pictures are challenging to interpret, especially if immunohistochemisty has been performed. Some of these have been placed in a glossy center section of the book, but this is insufficient for many of the topics being illustrated.
The editors have made a concerted effort to provide attention to new concepts and treatments for nearly each disease group in chapters that include the heading "New Frontiers." However, a drawback to any hard-copy book is the time lag between submission of chapters and actual publication, coupled with the rapid explosion of new information, making some of this information preliminary in nature. This is most evident in the chapters on new agents. Many of these compounds are now US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved, based on data that may not have been available when the chapter was written.