Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

What Is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia?

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is a form of acute leukemia. Leukemia is another word for blood cancer. An acute leukemia is a malignant and life-threatening bone marrow disease.

 Leukemia is another word for blood cancer Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

What Causes Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia?

We do not know exactly how acute lymphocytic leukemia can occur. It is known that there may sometimes be a relationship with radiation or with certain medications. Especially the drugs used in the treatment of malignant diseases (cytostatics, for example in chemotherapy) may increase the risk of leukemia. In most cases this is an acute myeloid leukemia.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia?

In acute lymphocytic leukemia, the symptoms are mainly caused by the shortage of normal blood cells.

- Anemia is caused by the shortage of red blood cells. This can cause complaints of paleness, fatigue and shortness of breath.
- The shortage of white blood cells can cause infections and fever.
- The shortage of blood platelets causes bruising and bleeding, such as nosebleeds, gum bleeding or small puncture in the skin.


There are certain studies that are performed for complaints that indicate leukemia.

Blood test
We take a few tubes of blood and examine whether your blood has too much or a shortage of the different types of blood cells. We also examine whether there are leukemic cells (blasts) in the blood.

B cell and T cell
Acute lymphocytic leukemia is distinguished into two major groups: the B-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia and the T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia. Lymph node enlargement is more common in the T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia. The treatment of both types of acute lymphocytic leukemia is the same.

Bone Marrow Examination

In a bone marrow puncture, we suck up some bone marrow from the sternum or from the back of the pelvis. We research this bone marrow in different ways:

- We view the cells under a microscope. With this, we can often already distinguish between acute lymphatic and acute myeloid leukemia.
- We do a flow cytometry. This is a study in which we look at the proteins on the surface of the leukemic cells. This allows us to precisely classify which type of lymphatic cell causes the leukemia. The more accurate the classification, the better we can estimate the prognosis.
- We perform a chromosome test. Some chromosome aberrations affect the prognosis, and sometimes they allow more targeted treatment.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment

The treatment of acute leukemia is intentionally curative, that is, targeted at the cure of the disease. The treatment consists of a combination of different cell-killing drugs (cytostatics), better known as chemotherapy. A complete leukemia treatment consists of several courses of chemotherapy.

Specifically for acute lymphocytic leukemia

The treatment of acute lymphocytic leukemia differs in some points from that of acute myeloid leukemia:

- At all you will receive a maintenance treatment at the outpatient clinic for long periods (one and a half to two years) after chemotherapy.
- At all, the chance of enlargement to the meninges is greater. That is why a treatment of the nervous system (through spinal punctures) is also required. We take fluid from the spinal canal and we examine the leukemic cells in this fluid. At the same time, we leave cancer-killing medications in the spinal canal.

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