Though childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of childhood cancer and is associated with a high cure rate, infant ALL is much rarer and difficult to treat.
Infant ALL is unique compared to childhood ALL, requiring a different treatment plan and its own nursing considerations. These patients are often critically ill at initial presentation and have monitoring requirements distinctive to their disease process. In addition, infants are more vulnerable to toxicities, making complications to chemotherapy more significant. These issues have led to modifications in past trials due to toxicities, risk of infections, etc. Prognosis has not improved markedly in the past 20 years despite clinical trials specifically for infants with ALL. However, a new trial is examining the safety of azacitidine when given prior to chemotherapy. The hope is azacitidine will be well tolerated and will make ALL blasts more sensitive to chemotherapy. Topics of focus in this session will include the unique features of infant ALL, past and future treatment protocols, and monitoring requirements for nurses.
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- Paige Johnson, DNP CPNP CPHON®