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Cancer Health Center

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Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Risk Groups for Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

In childhood ALL, risk groups are used to plan treatment.

There are two risk groups in childhood ALL. They are described as:

  • Standard (low) risk: Includes children aged 1 to younger than 10 years who have a white blood cell count of less than 50,000/µL at diagnosis.
  • High risk: Includes children 10 years and older and/or children who have a white blood cell count of 50,000/µL or more at diagnosis.

Other factors that affect the risk group include the following:

  • Whether the leukemia cells began from B lymphocytes or T lymphocytes.
  • Whether there are certain changes in the chromosomes or genes of the lymphocytes.
  • How quickly and how low the leukemia cell count drops after initial treatment.
  • Whether leukemia cells are found in the cerebrospinal fluid at diagnosis.

It is important to know the risk group in order to plan treatment. Children with high-risk ALL usually receive more anticancer drugs and higher doses of anticancer drugs than children with standard-risk ALL.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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