Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)

ALL; Acute lymphoblastic leukemia; Acute lymphoid leukemia; Acute childhood leukemia; Cancer - acute childhood leukemia (ALL); Leukemia - acute childhood (ALL); Acute lymphocytic leukemia

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a fast-growing cancer of a type of white blood cell called a lymphoblast.

ALL occurs when the bone marrow produces a large number of immature lymphoblasts. Bone marrow is the soft tissue in the center of bones that helps form all blood cells. The abnormal lymphoblasts grow quickly and replace normal cells in the bone marrow. ALL prevents healthy blood cells from being made. Life-threatening symptoms can occur as normal blood counts drop.

Bone marrow aspiration

A small amount of bone marrow is removed during a bone marrow aspiration. The procedure is uncomfortable, but can be tolerated by both children and adults. The marrow can be studied to determine the cause of anemia, the presence of leukemia or other malignancy, or the presence of some "storage diseases" in which abnormal metabolic products are stored in certain bone marrow cells.

Acute lymphocytic leukemia - photomicrograph

This picture shows the darkly-stained lymph cells (lymphoblasts) seen in acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), the most common type of childhood leukemia.

Auer rods

Note multiple Auer rods which are found only in acute myeloid leukemias, either myeloblastic or monoblastic. These rods consist of clumps of azurophilic granule material.

Bone marrow from hip

Bone marrow may be harvested from the hip (iliac bone) to serve as bone grafts elsewhere in the body.

Immune system structures

The immune system protects the body from potentially harmful substances. The inflammatory response (inflammation) is part of innate immunity. It occurs when tissues are injured by bacteria, trauma, toxins, heat or any other cause.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Support Groups

Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Prevention