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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Martin Stuart Tallman, MD, MD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This seventh edition of a well-respected book provides current information on the biology, clinical manifestations and treatment of all of the leukemias. Importantly, attention is given to the burgeoning area of targeted strategies. The first edition was published in 1958 by Drs. Dameshek and Gunz, two legends in the field, and this new edition includes chapters written authoritatively by the major figures in the field today.
Purpose: The purpose of this edition is to convey the sense of real progress that has been made in the understanding and treatment of leukemia. This is a very laudable objective given the remarkable insights into the molecular biology and the translation of these insights to changes in treatment which have improved the outcomes for many patients. With this book, the reader is indeed imbued with a genuine sense of excitement about the field.
Audience: The book is written for any individual interested in learning about almost any aspect of leukemia including from a historical perspective. Medical students, house officers, nurses, fellows, and specialists in the field of hematology-oncology will find every chapter of interest.
Features: The chapters cover the entire field, including the history of the disease, which is particularly fascinating, possible viral etiologies, molecular genetics of the leukemia cell which has played such a major role in our evolution in treatment with more targeted therapies such as all-trans-retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide, both for acute promyelocytic leukemia, the antibodies Rituxan and Campath-1H for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, the immunoconjugate BL22 for hairy cell leukemia, and imatinib mesylate for chronic myeloid leukemia, and transplantation. Appropriately, a separate chapter is devoted to acute promyelocytic leukemia. Chapters addressing both bleeding and thrombosis in the patient with leukemia and the common problem of anemia are particularly helpful. Chapters discussing monoclonal antibodies, immunoconjugates and antisense strategies are timely. The comprehensive chapter addressing minimal residual disease is also particularly important since the presence of such minimal disease is beginning to guide our therapy, particularly in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In addition, the availability of agents such as imatinib mesylate makes this goal critically important.
Assessment: Given the unprecedented and rapid changes in our understanding of the biology and treatment approaches for the various leukemias, this book is a welcome addition to the shelves of anyone interested keeping current in the field of leukemia or involved in the treatment of such patients. This book is particularly easy to read and each topic is entirely covered in one or two chapters. An eighth edition will be required, eagerly anticipated, and enthusiastically welcomed.