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Treatment Options for Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

A link to a list of current clinical trials is included for each treatment section. For some types or stages of cancer, there may not be any trials listed. Check with your child's doctor for clinical trials that are not listed here but may be right for your child.

Newly Diagnosed Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (Standard Risk)

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Treatment of standard-risk childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) during the induction, consolidation /intensification, and maintenance phases may include the following:

  • Combination chemotherapy.
  • Combination chemotherapy followed by stem cell transplant using stem cells from a donor.
  • A clinical trial of a new chemotherapy regimen.
  • A clinical trial of a new combination chemotherapy and intrathecal chemotherapy regimen given with or without radiation therapy and/or stem cell transplant. The chemotherapy dose and/or schedule depends on the patient's risk group after induction therapy.

CNS-directed therapy to treat or prevent the spread of leukemia cells to the brain and spinal cord may include the following:

  • Intrathecal chemotherapy.
  • High-dose systemic chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy.
  • A clinical trial of a new anticancer drug, the doses of certain anticancer drugs, and the use of radiation therapy to the brain.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with untreated childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Newly Diagnosed Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (High Risk)

T-cell childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Treatment of T-cell childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) may include the following:

  • Combination chemotherapy.
  • A clinical trial of a new chemotherapy regimen.

CNS-directed therapy to treat or prevent the spread of leukemia cells to the brain and spinal cord may include the following:

  • Intrathecal chemotherapy.
  • High-dose systemic chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy.
  • A clinical trial of a new anticancer drug, the doses of certain anticancer drugs, and the use of radiation therapy to the brain.

Infants with ALL

Treatment of infants with ALL may include the following:

  • Combination chemotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy followed by a donor stem cell transplant has been studied but it is not clear if this treatment improves survival.
  • 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.

CNS-directed therapy to treat or prevent the spread of leukemia cells to the brain and spinal cord may include the following:

  • Intrathecal chemotherapy.
  • High-dose systemic chemotherapy.

Children and teenagers with ALL

Treatment of ALL in children and teenagers (10 years and older) may include the following:

  • Combination chemotherapy.
  • A clinical trial of a new combination chemotherapy regimen.
  • A clinical trial of a new anticancer drug, new doses of certain anticancer drugs, and the use of radiation therapy to the brain. The chemotherapy dose and/or schedule depends on the patient's risk group after induction therapy.
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