The outcome of adults and children with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL) has dramatically changed since the introduction of all trans retinoic acid (ATRA) therapy. Based on the results of several multicenter trials, the current recommendations for the treatment of patients with APL include ATRA and anthracycline-based chemotherapy for the induction of remission and for consolidation, and ATRA combined with low-dose chemotherapy for maintenance. This has improved the prognosis of APL by increasing the complete remission (CR) rate, actually > 90%, decreasing the induction deaths and by reducing the relapse rate, leading to cure rates nowadays exceeding 80% considering both adults and children1-9. More recently the combination of ATRA and arsenic trioxide (ATO) as induction and consolidation therapy has been shown to be at least not inferior and possibly superior to ATRA plus chemotherapy in adult patients with APL conventionally defined as non-high risk (Sanz score)10.
Childhood APL has customarily been treated on adult protocols. Data from several trials have shown that the overall outcome in pediatric APL appears similar to that reported for the adult population, however some clinical and therapeutic aspects differ in the two cohorts which require some important considerations and treatment adjustments.