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Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2015 Aug;12(8):465-80. doi: 10.1038/nrclinonc.2015.92. Epub 2015 May 26.

Adolescent and young adult patients with cancer: a milieu of unique features.

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Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, 101 The City Drive South, Orange, CA 92868, USA.
Hyundai Cancer Institute, Children's Hospital of Orange County, 1201 West La Veta Avenue, Orange, CA 92868, USA.


Adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients with cancer are a unique category of patients who, depending on age at time of diagnosis, might receive treatment from oncologists specializing either in the treatment of children or adults. In the USA, AYA oncology generally encompasses patients 15-39 years of age. AYA patients with cancer typically present with diseases that span the spectrum from 'paediatric' cancers (such as acute lymphoblastic leukaemia [ALL] and brain tumours) to 'adult' tumours (such as breast cancer and melanoma), as well as cancers that are largely unique to their age group (such as testicular cancer and bone tumours). Research indicates that outcomes of AYA patients with cancer are influenced not only by the treatment provided, but also by factors related to 'host' biology. In addition to the potential biological and cancer-specific differences between AYAs and other patients with cancer, AYA patients also often have disparate access to clinical trials and suffer from a lack of age-appropriate psychosocial support services and health services, which might influence survival as well as overall quality of life. In this Review, these issues are discussed, with a focus on two types of AYA cancer--ALL and melanoma--highlighting findings arising from the use of emerging technologies, such as whole-genome sequencing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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