Congenital and neonatal leukemia occur rarely, yet carry high mortality rates and pose special problems for the perinatologist and hematologist. Although the etiology is unknown, the presence of leukemia at birth suggests genetic abnormalities and possibly intrauterine exposures to drugs or other toxins as contributing factors. Specific chromosomal rearrangements that are common in congenital leukemia have recently been identified and promise to enhance our understanding of these enigmatic diseases. The differential diagnosis is broad and includes many disorders that occur frequently in the neonatal period. Infants diagnosed with congenital or neonatal leukemia require thorough investigative workup and extensive supportive care. Although the prognosis is poor, recent use of high-intensity multiagent chemotherapy regimens has produced promising results.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynecology