Introduction: Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) is a clonal hematopoietic disorder of infancy/early childhood, resulting from oncogenic mutations in genes involved in the Ras pathway. As JMML often exhibits an aggressive course, the timing of diagnosis and treatment is critical to outcome. Areas covered: This review summarizes current approaches to diagnosis and treatment of JMML, highlighting most recent insights into genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying the disease, and providing an overview of novel potential therapeutic strategies. Expert commentary: At present, allogeneic HSCT remains the only potentially effective therapy, being able to cure more than 50% of patients, relapse representing the main cause of treatment failure. Prompt HSCT is recommended for all children with NF1, somatic PTPN11 and KRAS mutations, and for most children with somatic NRAS mutations. Conversely, a ‘watch and wait’ strategy should be adopted in children with germline CBL mutations, specific somatic NRAS mutation, and in Noonan syndrome patients, since spontaneous resolution has been reported to occur. Novel drugs targeting relevant nodes of JMML leukemogenesis have been explored in pre-HSCT window or at relapse. The use of 5-azacytidine, a DNA-hypomethylating agent reported to induce hematologic and molecular remission in some JMML children, is currently being investigated in clinical trials.
- hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
- juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia
- myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative disorders
- RAS pathway
- targeted therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas