Refractory Leukemia

What is Refractory Leukemia?

Refractory leukemia is a rare form of cancer in which the cancer cells are resistant to chemotherapy drugs. It is a type of acute leukemia, a cancer of the bone marrow and blood, that does not respond to standard treatments. It is typically seen in people who have been diagnosed with acute myeloid or acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Symptoms of Refractory Leukemia

The symptoms of refractory leukemia are the same as those of acute leukemia, including:

  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Frequent infections
  • Weight loss
  • Bruising and bleeding
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Lumps under the skin
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Swollen liver or spleen

Diagnosis of Refractory Leukemia

To diagnose refractory leukemia, a doctor will typically order imaging tests and blood tests. These tests may include a complete blood count, a bone marrow biopsy, and other tests to examine the proteins, chromosomes, and gene mutations of the cancer cells.

Treatment of Refractory Leukemia

The treatment for refractory leukemia is generally divided into two categories: supportive care and curative treatment. Supportive care includes drugs, blood transfusions, and antibiotics to help manage symptoms. Curative treatment includes targeted therapy, stem cell transplant, and experimental drugs.

It is important to note that the prognosis for refractory leukemia is significantly poorer than for other forms of leukemia, and the average life expectancy is much lower. Depending on the situation, the patient’s overall health, and the type of treatment, some patients may survive for several years with refractory leukemia. However, the average life expectancy for patients is significantly shorter than for patients with other forms of leukemia.