This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the treatment of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It is intended as a resource to inform and assist clinicians who care for cancer patients. It does not provide formal guidelines or recommendations for making health care decisions.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of cancer in children. It affects certain cells in the immune system, called B cells and T cells. ALL usually affects B cells in children.
It's natural to feel worried when you learn your child has acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but keep in mind that almost all children can be cured of this disease.
B-cell ALL makes your child more likely to get infections, because he doesn't have the protection of those B cells.
The disease starts...
This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Pediatric Treatment Editorial Board, which is editorially independent of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The summary reflects an independent review of the literature and does not represent a policy statement of NCI or the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Board members review recently published articles each month to determine whether an article should:
be discussed at a meeting,
be cited with text, or
replace or update an existing article that is already cited.
Changes to the summaries are made through a consensus process in which Board members evaluate the strength of the evidence in the published articles and determine how the article should be included in the summary.
The lead reviewers for Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment are:
Robert J. Arceci, MD, PhD (Phoenix Children's Hospital)
Karen J Marcus, MD (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children's Hospital)
Michael A. Pulsipher, MD (Primary Children's Medical Center)
Arthur Kim Ritchey, MD (Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC)
Lewis B. Silverman, MD (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children's Hospital)
Malcolm A. Smith, MD, PhD (National Cancer Institute)
Any comments or questions about the summary content should be submitted to Cancer.gov through the Web site's Contact Form. Do not contact the individual Board Members with questions or comments about the summaries. Board members will not respond to individual inquiries.
Levels of Evidence
Some of the reference citations in this summary are accompanied by a level-of-evidence designation. These designations are intended to help readers assess the strength of the evidence supporting the use of specific interventions or approaches. The PDQ Pediatric Treatment Editorial Board uses a formal evidence ranking system in developing its level-of-evidence designations.