Home > Health A – Z > Leukemia

Leukemia

Cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of blood cells to be produced and enter the bloodstream.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

Types of Leukemia

Acute Myeloid Leukemia

An aggressive (fast-growing) disease in which too many myeloblasts (immature white blood cells that are not lymphoblasts) are found in the bone marrow and blood....Read more about Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

An aggressive (fast-growing) type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the blood and bone marrow....Read more about Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

A slowly progressing disease in which too many white blood cells (not lymphocytes) are made in the bone marrow....Read more about Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

An indolent (slow-growing) cancer in which too many immature lymphocytes (white blood cells) are found mostly in the blood and bone marrow....Read more about Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Hairy Cell Leukemia

A rare type of leukemia in which abnormal B-lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) are present in the bone marrow, spleen, and peripheral blood. When viewed under a microscope, these cells appear to be covered with tiny hair-like projections....Read more about Hairy Cell Leukemia

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Stem cell transplantation in adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) or acute myeloid leukaemia (AML): Executive summary of final report N05-03A, Version 1.0

The aims of this review were the evaluation of studies on certain types of stem cell transplantation versus conventional chemotherapy in adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) or acute myeloid leukaemia (AML); evaluation of studies on certain types of stem cell transplantation compared with each other in adults with ALL or AML.

Hypothalamic‐pituitary‐adrenal (HPA) axis suppression after treatment with glucocorticoid therapy for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is the most frequent type of cancer in children. Glucocorticoids, like prednisone and dexamethasone, play a major role in the treatment of ALL. However, high‐dose glucocorticoids may cause HPA axis suppression. Suppression of the HPA axis, resulting in inadequate cortisol production, may cause an impaired response to stressors (e.g. trauma, surgery or inflammation) and an inadequate host defence against infections and remains a cause of morbidity and death in childhood. The occurrence and duration of HPA axis suppression after glucocorticoid therapy for childhood ALL are unclear.

Donor versus no donor comparison of hematopoietic cell transplantation for adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia in first complete remission

An area of uncertainty in the care of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the choice of treatment that is given after a complete remission is achieved with induction chemotherapy. Therapeutic alternatives include consolidation chemotherapy, autologous transplant (transplantation of a patient's own stem cells) or allogeneic transplant (transplantation utilizing donor stem cells). Clinical trials have come to different conclusions about the best approach. We conducted a systematic review and meta‐analysis to synthesize available clinical research studies that have examined outcome according to donor vs. no donor status, or genetic randomization. This is a method of analysis for assessing the effect of transplantation in this disease condition. Our analysis supports matched sibling donor allogeneic hematopoeitic cell transplantation as the approach which offers the best long‐term outcomes, specifically providing optimal survival and reduced risk for ALL relapse.

See all (312)

Summaries for consumers

Hypothalamic‐pituitary‐adrenal (HPA) axis suppression after treatment with glucocorticoid therapy for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is the most frequent type of cancer in children. Glucocorticoids, like prednisone and dexamethasone, play a major role in the treatment of ALL. However, high‐dose glucocorticoids may cause HPA axis suppression. Suppression of the HPA axis, resulting in inadequate cortisol production, may cause an impaired response to stressors (e.g. trauma, surgery or inflammation) and an inadequate host defence against infections and remains a cause of morbidity and death in childhood. The occurrence and duration of HPA axis suppression after glucocorticoid therapy for childhood ALL are unclear.

Donor versus no donor comparison of hematopoietic cell transplantation for adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia in first complete remission

An area of uncertainty in the care of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the choice of treatment that is given after a complete remission is achieved with induction chemotherapy. Therapeutic alternatives include consolidation chemotherapy, autologous transplant (transplantation of a patient's own stem cells) or allogeneic transplant (transplantation utilizing donor stem cells). Clinical trials have come to different conclusions about the best approach. We conducted a systematic review and meta‐analysis to synthesize available clinical research studies that have examined outcome according to donor vs. no donor status, or genetic randomization. This is a method of analysis for assessing the effect of transplantation in this disease condition. Our analysis supports matched sibling donor allogeneic hematopoeitic cell transplantation as the approach which offers the best long‐term outcomes, specifically providing optimal survival and reduced risk for ALL relapse.

A comparison of the healthy donor's experience of donating their blood stem cells to a patient who is to receive a stem cell transplant as treatment for cancer of their blood (e.g. leukaemia)

Blood stem cells are collected from a donor in two ways: either through a bone marrow harvest (direct retrieval of the stem cells from the donor's hip bones, under general anaesthetic) or a peripheral blood stem cell collection (retrieval of stem cells using a blood cell separator machine, following a course of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G‐CSF) injections). Both these methods of donation are common. Much research has explored which method of donation gives the best outcome to the patient, however there has not been a lot of research exploring these methods of donation from the donor's perspective. Such research is important if there is the possibility of long‐term adverse events for the donor. For example, the long‐term adverse events of G‐CSF are not known, but there is the suggestion of a correlation between G‐CSF and development of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). However, in many instances, donors are given a choice as to which method they would like to use to donate their stem cells. The aim of this review was to compare directly these two methods of blood stem cell donation from the donor's perspective, to understand the experiences of the donor. In this review, each donor was a sibling of the patient to whom they were donating blood stem cells.

See all (88)

Terms to know

B-Cells (B-Lymphocytes)
A type of white blood cell that makes antibodies. B lymphocytes are part of the immune system and develop from stem cells in the bone marrow. Also called B cell.
Blood
A tissue with red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and other substances suspended in fluid called plasma. Blood takes oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, and carries away wastes.
Bone Marrow
The soft, sponge-like tissue in the center of most bones. It produces white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
Lymphoblasts
A lymphocyte that has gotten larger after being stimulated by an antigen. Lymphoblast also refers to an immature cell that can develop into a mature lymphocyte.
Lymphocytes
A lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell that is part of the immune system. There are two main types of lymphocytes: B cells and T cells. The B cells produce antibodies that are used to attack invading bacteria, viruses, and toxins. The T cells destroy the body's own cells that have themselves been taken over by viruses or become cancerous.
Myeloblasts
A type of immature white blood cell that forms in the bone marrow. Myeloblasts become mature white blood cells called granulocytes (neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils).
Myeloid
Having to do with or resembling the bone marrow. May also refer to certain types of hematopoietic (blood-forming) cells found in the bone marrow. Sometimes used as a synonym for myelogenous; for example, acute myeloid leukemia and acute myelogenous leukemia are the same disease.
White Blood Cells (Leukocytes)
A type of immune cell. Most white blood cells are made in the bone marrow and are found in the blood and lymph tissue. White blood cells help the body fight infections and other diseases. Granulocytes, monocytes, and lymphocytes are white blood cells.

More about Leukemia

Photo of an adult

Also called: Leukaemia

Other terms to know: See all 8
B-Cells (B-Lymphocytes), Blood, Bone Marrow

Related articles:
Cancer: Anxiety and Distress

Keep up with systematic reviews on Leukemia:

RSS

PubMed Health Blog...

read all...