Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common childhood malignancy:
- Comprises one quarter of all childhood malignancies
- 75% of all childhood leukemias
- In North America the incidence is 3 - 4 cases per 100,000
The peak incidence is between 2 and 4 years of age (peak age of incidence may be becoming younger with time).
ALL is commoner in white vs black children.
ALL is commoner in boys vs girls (boys have a slightly worse prognosis).
Geographic variation in incidence (rare in North Africa and Middle East). Tends to be common in industrialized countries.
Below is a picture of ALL leukemic blast cells (large purple cells) in the peripheral blood. The red cells are erythrocytes (red blood cells).