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Full remission in leukemia

Full remission in leukemia

Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

My son was diagnosed with leukemia in April 2002 and he has completed his chemotherapy, radiation and he is now in maintenance. My question is "What do you mean by full remission? How can we determine whether my son will remain in full remission"?

 

Answer

Selina M. Luger, MD, Director of the Leukemia Program and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Full remission means that there is no detectable leukemia at this point, the bone marrow and blood counts are normal and there is no evidence of leukemia outside of the bone marrow. Your son has passed a major milestone and responded to initial therapy to get into a full remission. Although we are getting better at identifying factors which make it more or less likely that a patient will remain in remission, there is no test that can be done that will determine that for certain; only time will tell.