National Cancer Institute


Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It is intended as a resource to inform and assist clinicians who care for cancer patients. It does not provide formal guidelines or recommendations for making health care decisions.

This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Adult Treatment Editorial Board, which is editorially independent of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The summary reflects an independent review of the literature and does not represent a policy statement of NCI or the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Adult ALL Treatment

Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment

General Information About Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

ALL (also called acute lymphocytic leukemia) is an aggressive type of leukemia characterized by the presence of too many lymphoblasts or lymphocytes in the bone marrow and peripheral blood. It can spread to the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, central nervous system (CNS), and other organs. Without treatment, ALL usually progresses quickly.

Signs and symptoms of ALL may include the following:

  • Weakness or fatigue.
  • Fever or night sweats.
  • Bruises or bleeds easily (i.e., bleeding gums, purplish patches in the skin, or petechiae [flat, pinpoint spots under the skin]).
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Unexpected weight loss or anorexia.
  • Pain in the bones or joints.
  • Swollen lymph nodes, particularly lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, or groin, which are usually painless.
  • Swelling or discomfort in the abdomen.
  • Frequent infections.

ALL occurs in both children and adults. It is the most common type of cancer in children, and treatment results in a good chance for a cure. For adults, the prognosis is not as optimistic. This summary discusses ALL in adults. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment for more information about ALL in children.)

Incidence and Mortality

Estimated new cases and deaths from ALL in the United States in 2017:

  • New cases: 5,970.
  • Deaths: 1,440.

Anatomy

ALL presumably arises from malignant transformation of B- or T-cell progenitor cells. It is more commonly seen in children, but can occur at any age. The disease is characterized by the accumulation of lymphoblasts in the marrow or in various extramedullary sites, frequently accompanied by suppression of normal hematopoiesis. B- and T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia cells express surface antigens that parallel their respective lineage developments. Precursor B-cell ALL cells typically express CD10, CD19, and CD34 on their surface, along with nuclear terminal deoxynucleotide transferase (TdT), while precursor T-cell ALL cells commonly express CD2, CD3, CD7, CD34, and TdT.

Blood cell development; drawing shows the steps a blood stem cell goes through to become a red blood cell, platelet, or white blood cell. A myeloid stem cell becomes a red blood cell, a platelet, or a myeloblast, which then becomes a granulocyte (the types of granulocytes are eosinophils, basophils, and neutrophils). A lymphoid stem cell becomes a lymphoblast and then becomes a B-lymphocyte, T-lymphocyte, or natural killer cell.Blood cell development. A blood stem cell goes through several steps to become a red blood cell, platelet, or white blood cell.

Molecular Genetics

Some patients presenting with acute leukemia may have a cytogenetic abnormality that is cytogenetically indistinguishable from the Philadelphia chromosome (Ph1). The Ph1 occurs in only 1% to 2% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), but it occurs in about 20% of adults and a small percentage of children with ALL. In the majority of children and in more than one-half of adults with Ph1-positive ALL, the molecular abnormality is different from that in Ph1-positive chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).

Many patients who have molecular evidence of the fusion gene, which characterizes the Ph1, have no evidence of the abnormal chromosome by cytogenetics. The fusion gene may be detectable only by fluorescence hybridization (FISH) or reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) because many patients have a different fusion protein from the one found in CML (p190 vs. p210). These tests should be performed, whenever possible, in patients with ALL, especially in those with B-cell lineage disease.

L3 ALL is associated with a variety of translocations that involve translocation of the proto-oncogene to the immunoglobulin gene locus t(2;8), t(8;12), and t(8;22).

Diagnosis

Patients with ALL may present with a variety of hematologic derangements ranging from pancytopenia to hyperleukocytosis. In addition to a history and physical, the initial workup should include:

  • Complete blood count with differential.
  • A chemistry panel (including uric acid, creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, potassium, phosphate, calcium, bilirubin, and hepatic transaminases).
  • Fibrinogen and tests of coagulation as a screen for disseminated intravascular coagulation.
  • A careful screen for evidence of active infection.

A bone marrow biopsy and aspirate are routinely performed even in T-cell ALL to determine the extent of marrow involvement. Malignant cells should be sent for conventional cytogenetic studies, as detection of the Ph1 t(9;22), gene rearrangements (in Burkitt leukemia), and gene rearrangements add important prognostic information. Flow cytometry should be performed to characterize expression of lineage-defining antigens and allow determination of the specific ALL subtype. In addition, for B-cell disease, the malignant cells should be analyzed using RT-PCR and FISH for evidence of the fusion gene. This last point is of utmost importance, as timely diagnosis of Ph1 ALL will significantly change the therapeutic approach.

Diagnostic confusion with AML, hairy cell leukemia, and malignant lymphoma is not uncommon. Proper diagnosis is crucial because of the difference in prognosis and treatment of ALL and AML. Immunophenotypic analysis is essential because leukemias that do not express myeloperoxidase include M0 AML, M7 AML, and ALL.

The examination of bone marrow aspirates and/or biopsy specimens should be done by an experienced oncologist, hematologist, hematopathologist, or general pathologist who is capable of interpreting conventional and specially stained specimens.

Prognosis and Survival

Factors associated with prognosis in patients with ALL include the following:

  • Age: Age, which is a significant factor in childhood ALL and AML, may be an important prognostic factor in adult ALL. In one study, overall, the prognosis was better in patients younger than 25 years; another study found a better prognosis in patients younger than 35 years. These findings may, in part, be related to the increased incidence of the Ph1 in older ALL patients, a subgroup associated with poor prognosis.
  • CNS involvement: As in childhood ALL, adult patients with ALL are at risk of developing CNS involvement during the course of their disease. This is particularly true for patients with L3 (Burkitt) morphology. Both treatment and prognosis are influenced by this complication.
  • Cellular morphology: Patients with L3 morphology showed improved outcomes, as evidenced in a completed Cancer and Leukemia Group B study ( [NCT00002494]), when treated according to specific treatment algorithms. This study found that L3 leukemia can be cured with aggressive, rapidly cycling lymphoma-like chemotherapy regimens.
  • Chromosomal abnormalities: Chromosomal abnormalities, including aneuploidy and translocations, have been described and may correlate with prognosis. In particular, patients with Ph1-positive t(9;22) ALL have a poor prognosis and represent more than 30% of adult cases. -rearranged leukemias that do not demonstrate the classical Ph1 carry a poor prognosis that is similar to those that are Ph1-positive. Patients with Ph1-positive ALL are rarely cured with chemotherapy, although long-term survival is now being routinely reported when such patients are treated with combinations of chemotherapy and tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

    Two other chromosomal abnormalities with poor prognosis are t(4;11), which is characterized by rearrangements of the gene and may be rearranged despite normal cytogenetics, and t(9;22). In addition to t(4;11) and t(9;22), compared with patients with a normal karyotype, patients with deletion of chromosome 7 or trisomy 8 have been reported to have a lower probability of survival at 5 years. In a multivariate analysis, karyotype was the most important predictor of disease-free survival.[]

Late Effects of Treatment for Adult ALL

Long-term follow-up of 30 patients with ALL in remission for at least 10 years has demonstrated ten cases of secondary malignancies. Of 31 long-term female survivors of ALL or AML younger than 40 years, 26 resumed normal menstruation following completion of therapy. Among 36 live offspring of survivors, two congenital problems occurred.

Related Summaries

Other PDQ summaries containing information related to acute lymphoblastic leukemia include the following:

  • Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment

Cellular Classification of Adult ALL

The following leukemic cell characteristics are important:

  • Morphological features.
  • Cytogenetic characteristics.
  • Immunologic cell surface and biochemical markers.
  • Cytochemistry.

In adults, French-American-British (FAB) L1 morphology (more mature-appearing lymphoblasts) is present in fewer than 50% of patients, and L2 morphology (more immature and pleomorphic) predominates. L3 (Burkitt) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is much less common than the other two FAB subtypes. It is characterized by blasts with cytoplasmic vacuolizations and surface expression of immunoglobulin, and the bone marrow often has an appearance described as a “” owing to the presence of numerous apoptotic cells. L3 ALL is associated with a variety of translocations that involve translocation of the proto-oncogene to the immunoglobulin gene locus t(2;8), t(8;12), and t(8;22).

Some patients presenting with acute leukemia may have a cytogenetic abnormality that is morphologically indistinguishable from the Philadelphia chromosome (Ph1). The Ph1 occurs in only 1% to 2% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), but it occurs in about 20% of adults and a small percentage of children with ALL. In the majority of children and in more than one-half of adults with Ph1-positive ALL, the molecular abnormality is different from that in Ph1-positive chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).

Many patients who have molecular evidence of the fusion gene, which characterizes the Ph1, have no evidence of the abnormal chromosome by cytogenetics. The fusion gene may be detectable only by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis or reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction for the fusion gene because many patients have a different fusion protein from the one found in CML (p190 vs. p210).

Using heteroantisera and monoclonal antibodies, ALL cells can be divided into several subtypes (see Table 1).

About 95% of all types of ALL (except Burkitt, which usually has an L3 morphology by the FAB classification) have elevated terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) expression. This elevation is extremely useful in diagnosis; if concentrations of the enzyme are not elevated, the diagnosis of ALL is suspect. However, 20% of cases of AML may express TdT; therefore, its usefulness as a lineage marker is limited. Because Burkitt leukemias are managed according to different treatment algorithms, it is important to specifically identify these cases prospectively by their L3 morphology, absence of TdT, and expression of surface immunoglobulin. Patients with Burkitt leukemias will typically have one of the following three chromosomal translocations:

  • t(8;14).
  • t(2;8).
  • t(8;22).

Stage Information for Adult ALL

There is no clear-cut staging system for this disease. This disease is classified as untreated, in remission, or recurrent.

Untreated Adult ALL

For a newly diagnosed patient with no prior treatment, untreated adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is defined by the following:

  • Abnormal white blood cell count and differential.
  • Abnormal hematocrit/hemoglobin and platelet counts.
  • Abnormal bone marrow with more than 5% blasts.
  • Signs and symptoms of the disease.

Adult ALL in Remission

A patient who has received remission-induction treatment of ALL is in remission if all of the following criteria are met:

  • Bone marrow is normocellular with no more than 5% blasts.
  • There are no signs or symptoms of the disease.
  • There are no signs or symptoms of central nervous system leukemia or other extramedullary infiltration.
  • All of the following laboratory values are within normal limits:
    • White blood cell count and differential.
    • Hematocrit/hemoglobin level.
    • Platelet count.

Treatment Option Overview for ALL

Successful treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) consists of the control of bone marrow and systemic disease and the treatment (or prevention) of sanctuary-site disease, particularly the central nervous system (CNS). The cornerstone of this strategy includes systemically administered combination chemotherapy with CNS preventive therapy. CNS prophylaxis is achieved with chemotherapy (intrathecal and/or high-dose systemic therapy) and, in some cases, cranial radiation therapy.

Treatment is divided into the following three phases:

  • Remission induction.
  • CNS prophylaxis.
  • Postremission (also called remission continuation or maintenance).

The average length of treatment for ALL varies between 1.5 and 3 years in the effort to eradicate the leukemic cell population. Younger adults with ALL may be eligible for selected clinical trials for childhood ALL. (Refer to the Adolescents and Young Adults With ALL section in the PDQ summary on Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment for more information.)

Entry into a clinical trial is highly desirable to assure adequate patient treatment and maximal information retrieval from the treatment of this highly responsive, but usually fatal, disease.

Treatment for Untreated Adult ALL

Standard Treatment Options for Untreated Adult ALL

Standard treatment options for untreated adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) include the following:

Remission induction therapy

Sixty percent to 80% of adults with ALL usually achieve a complete remission status following appropriate induction therapy. Appropriate initial treatment, usually consisting of a regimen that includes the combination of vincristine, prednisone, and an anthracycline, with or without asparaginase, results in a complete response rate of up to 80%. In patients with Ph1-positive ALL, the remission rate is generally greater than 90% when standard induction regimens are combined with tyrosine kinase inhibitors. In the largest study published to date of Ph1-positive ALL patients, overall survival (OS) for 1,913 adult ALL patients was 39% at 5 years.

Patients who experience a relapse after remission usually die within 1 year, even if a second complete remission is achieved. If there are appropriate available donors and if the patient is younger than 55 years, bone marrow transplantation may be a consideration in the management of this disease. Transplant centers performing five or fewer transplants annually usually have poorer results than larger centers. If allogeneic transplant is considered, a recommendation is that transfusions with blood products from a potential donor be avoided, if possible.

Combination chemotherapy

Most current induction regimens for patients with adult ALL include combination chemotherapy with prednisone, vincristine, and an anthracycline. Some regimens, including those used in a Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) study (CLB-8811), also add other drugs, such as asparaginase or cyclophosphamide. Current multiagent induction regimens result in complete response rates that range from 60% to 90%.

Imatinib mesylate

Imatinib mesylate is often incorporated into the therapeutic plan for patients with Ph1-positive ALL. Imatinib mesylate, an orally available inhibitor of the tyrosine kinase, has been shown to have clinical activity as a single agent in Ph1-positive ALL.[] More commonly, particularly in younger patients, imatinib is incorporated into combination chemotherapy regimens. There are several published single-arm studies in which the complete response rate and survival are compared with historical controls.

Evidence (Imatinib mesylate):

Several studies have suggested that the addition of imatinib to conventional combination chemotherapy induction regimens results in complete response rates, event-free survival rates, and OS rates that are higher than those in historical controls. At the present time, no conclusions can be drawn regarding the optimal imatinib dose or schedule.

In each of these studies, common toxicities were nausea and liver enzyme abnormalities, which necessitated interruption and/or dose reduction of imatinib. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Treatment-Related Nausea and Vomiting for more information.) Subsequent allogeneic transplant does not appear to be adversely affected by the addition of imatinib to the treatment regimen.

Imatinib is generally incorporated into the treatment of patients with Ph1-positive ALL because of the responses observed in monotherapy trials. If a suitable donor is available, allogeneic bone marrow transplantation should be considered because remissions are generally short with conventional ALL chemotherapy clinical trials.

Supportive care

Since myelosuppression is an anticipated consequence of both leukemia and its treatment with chemotherapy, patients must be closely monitored during remission induction treatment. Facilities must be available for hematological support and for the treatment of infectious complications.

Supportive care during remission induction treatment should routinely include red blood cell and platelet transfusions, when appropriate.

Evidence (Supportive care):

Empiric broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapy is an absolute necessity for febrile patients who are profoundly neutropenic. Careful instruction in personal hygiene and dental care and in recognizing early signs of infection are appropriate for all patients. Elaborate isolation facilities, including filtered air, sterile food, and gut flora sterilization, are not routinely indicated but may benefit transplant patients.

Rapid marrow ablation with consequent earlier marrow regeneration decreases morbidity and mortality. White blood cell transfusions can be beneficial in selected patients with aplastic marrow and serious infections that are not responding to antibiotics. Prophylactic oral antibiotics may be appropriate in patients with expected prolonged, profound granulocytopenia (<100/mm for 2 wk), though further studies are necessary. Serial surveillance cultures may be helpful in detecting the presence or acquisition of resistant organisms in these patients.

As suggested in a CALGB study (CLB-9111), the use of myeloid growth factors during remission-induction therapy appears to decrease the time to hematopoietic reconstitution.

CNS prophylaxis therapy

The early institution of CNS prophylaxis is critical to achieve control of sanctuary disease.

Special Considerations for B-Cell and T-Cell Adult ALL

Two additional subtypes of adult ALL require special consideration. B-cell ALL, which expresses surface immunoglobulin and cytogenetic abnormalities such as t(8;14), t(2;8), and t(8;22), is not usually cured with typical ALL regimens. Aggressive brief-duration high-intensity regimens, including those previously used in (NCT00002494), that are similar to those used in aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma have shown high response rates and cure rates (75% complete response; 40% failure-free survival). Similarly, T-cell ALL, including lymphoblastic lymphoma, has shown high cure rates when treated with cyclophosphamide-containing regimens.

Whenever possible, patients with B-cell or T-cell ALL should be entered in clinical trials designed to improve the outcomes in these subsets. (Refer to the Burkitt Lymphoma/Diffuse Small Noncleaved-cell Lymphoma and Lymphoblastic lymphoma sections in the PDQ summary on Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment for more information.)

Current Clinical Trials

Check the list of NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with untreated adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI website.

Treatment for Adult ALL in Remission

Standard Treatment Options for Adult ALL in Remission

Standard treatment options for adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in remission include the following:

Postremission therapy

Current approaches to postremission therapy for adult ALL include short-term, relatively intensive chemotherapy followed by any of the following:

  • Longer-term therapy at lower doses (maintenance therapy).
  • Allogeneic bone marrow transplant.

Because the optimal postremission therapy for patients with ALL is still unclear, a consideration is participation in clinical trials. (Refer to the B-cell [Burkitt] lymphoma] section in the PDQ summary on Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment for more information.)

Evidence (Chemotherapy):

Administration of the newer dose-intensive schedules can be difficult and should be performed by physicians experienced in these regimens at centers equipped to deal with potential complications are necessary. Studies in which continuation or maintenance chemotherapy was eliminated had outcomes inferior to those with extended treatment durations. Imatinib has been incorporated into maintenance regimens in patients with Ph1-positive ALL.

Evidence (Allogeneic and autologous BMT):

AlloBMT results in the lowest incidence of leukemic relapse, even when compared with a BMT from an identical twin (syngeneic BMT). This finding has led to the concept of an immunologic graft-versus-leukemia effect similar to graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). The improvement in DFS in patients undergoing alloBMT as primary postremission therapy is offset, in part, by the increased morbidity and mortality from GVHD, veno-occlusive disease of the liver, and interstitial pneumonitis.

The use of matched unrelated donors for alloBMT is currently under evaluation but, because of its current high treatment-related morbidity and mortality, it is reserved for patients in second remission or beyond. The dose of total-body radiation therapy administered is associated with the incidence of acute and chronic GVHD and may be an independent predictor of leukemia-free survival.[]

Evidence (B-cell ALL):

Aggressive cyclophosphamide-based regimens similar to those used in aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma have shown improved outcome of prolonged DFS for patients with B-cell ALL (L3 morphology, surface immunoglobulin positive).

CNS prophylaxis therapy

The early institution of CNS prophylaxis is critical to achieve control of sanctuary disease. Some authors have suggested that there is a subgroup of patients at low risk for CNS relapse for whom CNS prophylaxis may not be necessary. However, this concept has not been tested prospectively.

Aggressive CNS prophylaxis remains a prominent component of treatment. This report, which requires confirmation in other cooperative group settings, is encouraging for patients with L3 ALL. Patients with surface immunoglobulin and L1 or L2 morphology did not benefit from this regimen. Similarly, patients with L3 morphology and immunophenotype, but unusual cytogenetic features, were not cured with this approach. A WBC count of less than 50,000 per microliter predicted improved leukemia-free survival in a univariate analysis.

Current Clinical Trials

Check the list of NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia in remission. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI website.

Treatment for Recurrent Adult ALL

Standard Treatment Options for Recurrent Adult ALL

Standard treatment options for recurrent adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) include the following:

Reinduction chemotherapy

Patients with ALL who experience a relapse following chemotherapy and maintenance therapy are unlikely to be cured by further chemotherapy alone. These patients should be considered for reinduction chemotherapy followed by alloBMT.

Blinatumomab

Evidence (blinatumomab):

Palliative radiation therapy

Low-dose palliative radiation therapy may be considered in patients with symptomatic recurrence either within or outside the central nervous system.

Dasatinib

Patients with Ph1-positive ALL will often be taking imatinib at the time of relapse and thus will have imatinib-resistant disease. Dasatinib, a novel tyrosine kinase inhibitor with efficacy against several different imatinib-resistant mutations, has been approved for use in Ph1-positive ALL patients who are resistant to or intolerant of imatinib. The approval was based on a series of trials involving patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia, one of which included small numbers of patients with lymphoid blast crisis or Ph1-positive ALL.

Evidence (Dasatinib):

Treatment Options Under Clinical Evaluation for Recurrent Adult ALL

Patients for whom an HLA-matched donor is not available are excellent candidates for enrollment in clinical trials that are studying the following:

Current Clinical Trials

Check the list of NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with recurrent adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI website.

Changes to This Summary (07/21/2017)

The PDQ cancer information summaries are reviewed regularly and updated as new information becomes available. This section describes the latest changes made to this summary as of the date above.

Treatment Option Overview for Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

Revised text of treatment option in Table 2 for recurrent ALL to include blinatumomab.

Treatment for Recurrent Adult ALL

Revised text in treatment option to add blinatumomab to reinduction chemotherapy.

Added Blinatumomab as a new subsection.

Added text to treatment options under clinical evaluation to include chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (cited Maude et al. as reference 11).

This summary is written and maintained by the PDQ Adult Treatment Editorial Board, which is editorially independent of NCI. The summary reflects an independent review of the literature and does not represent a policy statement of NCI or NIH. More information about summary policies and the role of the PDQ Editorial Boards in maintaining the PDQ summaries can be found on the About This PDQ Summary and PDQ® - NCI's Comprehensive Cancer Database pages.

About This PDQ Summary

Purpose of This Summary

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It is intended as a resource to inform and assist clinicians who care for cancer patients. It does not provide formal guidelines or recommendations for making health care decisions.

Reviewers and Updates

This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Adult Treatment Editorial Board, which is editorially independent of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The summary reflects an independent review of the literature and does not represent a policy statement of NCI or the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Board members review recently published articles each month to determine whether an article should:

  • be discussed at a meeting,
  • be cited with text, or
  • replace or update an existing article that is already cited.

Changes to the summaries are made through a consensus process in which Board members evaluate the strength of the evidence in the published articles and determine how the article should be included in the summary.

The lead reviewers for Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment are:

  • Keith W. Pratz, MD (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Mikkael A. Sekeres, MD, MS (Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute)

Any comments or questions about the summary content should be submitted to Cancer.gov through the NCI website's Email Us. Do not contact the individual Board Members with questions or comments about the summaries. Board members will not respond to individual inquiries.

Levels of Evidence

Some of the reference citations in this summary are accompanied by a level-of-evidence designation. These designations are intended to help readers assess the strength of the evidence supporting the use of specific interventions or approaches. The PDQ Adult Treatment Editorial Board uses a formal evidence ranking system in developing its level-of-evidence designations.

Permission to Use This Summary

PDQ is a registered trademark. Although the content of PDQ documents can be used freely as text, it cannot be identified as an NCI PDQ cancer information summary unless it is presented in its entirety and is regularly updated. However, an author would be permitted to write a sentence such as “NCI’s PDQ cancer information summary about breast cancer prevention states the risks succinctly: [include excerpt from the summary].”

The preferred citation for this PDQ summary is:

PDQ® Adult Treatment Editorial Board. PDQ Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated . Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/leukemia/hp/adult-all-treatment-pdq. Accessed . [PMID: 26389171]

Images in this summary are used with permission of the author(s), artist, and/or publisher for use within the PDQ summaries only. Permission to use images outside the context of PDQ information must be obtained from the owner(s) and cannot be granted by the National Cancer Institute. Information about using the illustrations in this summary, along with many other cancer-related images, is available in Visuals Online, a collection of over 2,000 scientific images.

Disclaimer

Based on the strength of the available evidence, treatment options may be described as either “standard” or “under clinical evaluation.” These classifications should not be used as a basis for insurance reimbursement determinations. More information on insurance coverage is available on Cancer.gov on the Managing Cancer Care page.

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