Dr Julie Wolfson on What Clinicians Need to Understand About Adolescents/Young Adults With ALL

Julie A. Wolfson, MD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, discusses what clinicians need to be conscious about regarding the outcomes disparities between adolescents and young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and children with ALL.


In what ways can clinicians be conscious of the outcomes disparities between adolescents and young adults with ALL, and children with ALL?

That’s a really good question. There’s a lot of things that impact this. This is just the tip of the iceberg.  We’re going to move forward and really try to figure this out but I think the first thing that clinicians can do is just to be aware that these patients are different from children and they’re different from patients that are over 40 as well. They’re different from their older adults that walk through the door and that really there’s a lot of different things that need to be considered in terms of treatment on a clinical trial and consideration of what kind of treatment they give them.

So really what I think in terms of thinking about these patients, the most important thing is for clinicians to recognize that they’re different from their younger counterparts and from their older counterparts. So when someone walks through your door and and they’re diagnosed with ALL and they’re under 40, I think the most important thing is to think about them as a unique group. Think about the kind of treatment they receive, and really, because of this duration of treatment, think about the kind of treatment you’re giving, and really, keeping them on track and making sure that they finish and don’t fall off at the end, which happens. These patients, sometimes because of all of the psycho-social stressors in their lives, they’re at this very unique time in their lives and there’s so much going on and so they do need psycho-social support in different ways. We haven’t shown this specifically and we really need to take that all into account, though.

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