Author | Robert J. Arceci MD, PhD

Articles

Curing Pediatric Cancers: A Success Story Reconsidered

June 01, 2007

Over the past 50 years, great strides have been made in diagnosis, treatment, and survival of childhood cancer. In the 1960s the probability of survival for a child with cancer was less than 25%, whereas today it may exceed 80%. This dramatic change has occurred through significant and steady progress in our understanding of tumor biology, creation of specialized multidisciplinary care teams, incremental improvements in therapy, establishment of specialized centers with research infrastructure to conduct pivotal clinical studies, and the evolution of a cooperative group mechanism for clinical research. Most children with cancer in the United States, Europe, and Japan receive appropriate diagnosis and treatment, although access is limited in developing countries. The price of success, however, is the growing population of survivors who require medical and psychosocial follow-up and treatment for the late effects of therapy. Here we review the progress made in pediatric oncology over the past 3 decades and consider the new challenges that face us today.

What Is the Optimal Therapy for Childhood AML?

August 01, 2002

The use of intensive therapy over a brief period of time has produced dramatic improvements in outcome for pediatric patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), as has been demonstrated in studies by the major cooperative groups in the United States and Europe. Still, despite high-intensity chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation, only about half of the children diagnosed with AML are cured. Future improvements are unlikely to come from further increases in chemotherapy intensity. Alternative approaches, such as risk-directed therapy based on different prognostic criteria; differentiation therapy with all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA, Vesanoid), arsenic trioxide (Trisenox), or azacytidine; and immunotherapy with monoclonal antibodies, tumor vaccines, or cytokines may lead to further advances. [ONCOLOGY 16:1057-1070, 2002]