Michael Link, MD, professor of pediatrics, Stanford Cancer Institute, 2018 Giant of Cancer Care in Pediatrics, discusses the evolution of treatment in pediatric cancer.
Michael Link, MD, professor of pediatrics, Stanford Cancer Institute, 2018 Giant of Cancer Care® in Pediatrics, discusses the evolution of treatment in pediatric oncology.
In recent years, there has been phenomenal progress in the management of pediatric cancers, Link says. Approximately 80% of children with cancer are cured, and in some diseases such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the cure rate is closer to 95%. Looking back, Link says, some types of pediatric cancer were incurable, and only about 40% of patients with ALL were cured. Burkitt’s lymphoma was a difficult-to-treat disease some time ago, but now, physicians are able to cure it with impunity, he adds.
At the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting, there was an abstract presented that Link thinks has the potential to be practice-changing in pediatric T-cell leukemia. The study showed that adding nelarabine (Arranon), a relatively new drug, to escalating-dose methotrexate was feasible in the already intensive treatment regimen; this therapy also improved patient outcomes compared with the standard of care.