Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Diagnosis and Treatment of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer of the blood in which too many lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, are produced by the bone marrow and by organs of the lymph system.

ALL is the most common form of childhood leukemia. It affects approximately 2,500 children each year in the United States. Information about childhood ALL can be found at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

Despite being a common childhood cancer, about one-third of ALL cases occur in adults. In adults the risk of developing the disease begins about age 50 and increases thereafter. Factors thought to increase the risk of developing ALL include past exposure to chemotherapy or radiation, or having Down’s syndrome.

Stanford Expertise

Patients with leukemia are evaluated and treated in Stanford's Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant clinics by a team of world-renowned doctors. We offer advanced chemotherapy protocols for leukemia and Stanford hematologists have helped develop the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for the management of hematologic malignancies. Our goal is to improve the survival and quality of life of patients.

Treatment With Chemotherapy

ALL treatment typically begins with chemotherapy that is broken into two phases: an induction phase that may require hospitalization, and a later phase that can be administered in our outpatient chemotherapy infusion center. When chemotherapy is successful, a patient is said to be in remission. This is because a small number of leukemia cells usually still remain in the blood even though they cannot be detected, so the cancer often comes back.

Blood  and Bone Marrow Transplantation

Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) is a treatment option for a variety of malignant and non-malignant diseases. The Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Stanford is committed to outstanding clinical care and research.  This commitment, in conjunction with the numerous research resources and comprehensive support services offered at Stanford, assures the best possible outcome for our patients and their families. 

Clinical Trials

Cancer Center physicians are active in developing and testing new therapies for the treatment of ALL. For example, our researchers have been on the forefront of analyzing outcomes of bone marrow transplants, and investigating genetic profiles that can help doctors make better decisions about ALL treatment. When appropriate, patients are invited to participate in studies to investigate the newest treatments as well as large-scale clinical trials for more established treatments.

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