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Cancer Health Center

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

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Intrathecal and systemic chemotherapy are given to prevent the spread of leukemia cells to the brain and spinal cord. Sometimes radiation therapy to the brain is also given.

Treatments being studied in clinical trials for T-cell ALL include new anticancer agents and chemotherapy regimens.

Infants with ALL

The treatment of infants with ALL during the remission induction, consolidation /intensification, and maintenance phases always includes combination chemotherapy. Infants with ALL are given different anticancer drugs and higher doses of anticancer drugs than children 1 year and older in the standard-risk group. It is not clear whether a stem cell transplant during first remission improves survival.

Intrathecal and systemic chemotherapy are given to prevent the spread of leukemia cells to the brain and spinal cord.

Treatments being studied in clinical trials for infants with ALL include the following:

  • A clinical trial of chemotherapy followed by a donor stem cell transplant for infants with certain gene changes.
  • A clinical trial of combination chemotherapy and targeted therapy with a tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

Children 10 years and older and teenagers with ALL

The treatment of ALL in children and teenagers (10 years and older) during the remission induction, consolidation /intensification, and maintenance phases always includes combination chemotherapy. Children 10 years and older and teenagers with ALL are given more anticancer drugs and higher doses of anticancer drugs than children in the standard-risk group.

Intrathecal and systemic chemotherapy are given to prevent the spread of leukemia cells to the brain and spinal cord. Sometimes radiation therapy to the brain is also given.

Treatments being studied in clinical trials for children 10 years and older and teenagers with ALL include new anticancer agents and chemotherapy regimens.

Philadelphia chromosome-positive ALL

The treatment of Philadelphia chromosome -positive childhood ALL during the remission induction, consolidation /intensification, and maintenance phases may include the following:

  • Combination chemotherapy and targeted therapy with a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (imatinib mesylate) with or without a stem cell transplant using stem cells from a donor.
  • A clinical trial of combination chemotherapy and a new tyrosine kinase inhibitor, with or without stem cell transplant.
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