Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

What is Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)?

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow. It is an aggressive cancer of the blood cells, caused by an overproduction of leukemic white blood called lymphoblasts. It is also known as acute lymphocytic leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Common Symptoms of ALL

Common symptoms of ALL include:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Infections
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Pain in the bones or joints
  • Paleness.

Diagnosis of ALL

The diagnosis of ALL is usually confirmed with a test called a complete blood count. Other tests may include a bone marrow biopsy or aspiration which examines the bone marrow, lymph node biopsy which examines the enlarged lymph nodes, or a biopsy of other organs, such as the spleen. Imaging tests, such as x-rays or computed tomography examples, may also be used for diagnosis.

Treatment of ALL

Treatment for ALL is usually a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, depending on the stage of the disease. Other treatments may include steroids, such as prednisone or dexamethasone, and targeted drugs, such as monoclonal antibodies, which work by targeting specific markers found on cancer cells.

Bone marrow or stem cell transplants may also be used for advanced stages of ALL, especially if chemotherapy or radiation therapy has not been successful. Bone marrow or stem cell transplants help the body to create new healthy blood cells.