What is Lymphoblastic Leukemia?

Lymphoblastic Leukemia (sometimes referred to as ALL or acute lymphoblastic leukemia) is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow and other tissues of the body make too many immature white blood cells, known as lymphoblasts. These cells are thought to be the precursors of lymphocytes, a type of normal white blood cell.

Lymphoblastic leukemia usually occurs in children, although it can occur in adults. Symptoms can include fatigue, fever, and weight loss. Treatment often includes chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants, and other medical procedures.

Types of Lymphoblastic Leukemia

There are two main types of lymphoblastic leukemia: acute and chronic.

  • Acute - This type of lymphoblastic leukemia progresses rapidly and is more common in children.
  • Chronic - This type of lymphoblastic leukemia progresses slowly and is more common in adults.

Causes of Lymphoblastic Leukemia

The exact cause of lymphoblastic leukemia is unknown, but there are several factors that may increase a person’s risk of developing the condition. These include genetic mutations, certain medications, exposure to radiation, and certain viral infections.

Diagnosis of Lymphoblastic Leukemia

If a doctor suspects that someone may have lymphoblastic leukemia, they may perform several tests to confirm a diagnosis. These tests may include a complete blood count, bone marrow biopsy, and imaging tests such as a CT scan or MRI.

Treatment for Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Treatment for lymphoblastic leukemia typically includes chemotherapeutic drugs and/or bone marrow or stem cell transplants. Treatment may also include supportive care such as blood transfusions and nutritional support.