Specialized Treatment for Pediatric Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is a type of cancer that develops from immature lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, in the bone marrow. Also known as acute lymphoblastic leukemia, these leukemia cells can spread to other parts of the body including the spleen, liver, brain and spinal cord, testicles, and lymph nodes. It is referred to as “acute” because it can progress quickly and be fatal within months.

In 2017, about 5,970 Americans will be diagnosed with ALL. About four out of 10 cases of ALL occur in adults; the American Cancer Society reports that the rest are in children.

There are different subtypes of ALL that are based on what type of lymphocytes the leukemia starts in, and the maturity of the cells. The subtypes include:

  • B-cell ALL. These subtypes start in B lymphocytes (B cells) and can include Early Pre-B ALL (Pro-B ALL), Common ALL, Pre-B ALL, and Mature B-cell ALL (also known as Burkett leukemia).
  • T-cell ALL. These subtypes of ALL originate in the T lymphocytes (T cells) and can include Pre-T ALL and Mature T-cell ALL.