Acute lymphoblastic (lymphocytic) leukemia (ALL) affects the white blood cells or leukocytes (learn more about blood cancer). Usually this process takes place fairly quickly, spreading to the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), testicles (in men).

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Acute lymphoblastic leukemia About the disease

The term "acute" means a fairly rapid progression. If untreated, a few months later development of the disease is likely to end in death. Lymphocytic indicates that the disease affects immature lymphoid cells. Some types of ALL respond well to treatment, many patients can be completely cured.

White blood cells help the body fight infections. These are the basic elements in the composition of the immune system and lymphoid tissue. The latter is present in the lymph nodes, thymus, spleen, tonsils, adenoids, bone marrow, digestive and respiratory systems. Lymphocytes develop from lymphoblasts. There are two main types of white blood cells: B cells and T cells.

According to the American Cancer Society, for 2014 in the United States have been identified 6020 new cases of ALL diseases (3140 men and 2880 women), the mortality rate was in 1440 (810 men and 630 women).

The risk of developing ALL is highest among children younger than 5 years. He slowly reduced to 20 years and begins to increase after age 50. One third of cases occurring in adults.

On average, the probability of disease is 1 in 750, it is slightly higher in men than in women, and whites compared with blacks.

Most often the disease affects children, but the highest number of fatal cases occur in the adult portion of the population (4 of 5).

Causes of acute lymphoblastic leukemia

risk factors - is something that affects the probability of disease. Some of them can be influenced, on the other - no. It represents several well-known risk factors for acute lymphocytic leukemia.

  1. Effect of high levels of radiation. Treatment of cancer using radiation therapy increases the risk of leukemia, particularly if irradiation is used in combination with chemotherapy.
  2. The influence of certain chemicals, for example, benzene, and certain chemotherapeutic drugs.Causes of acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  3. Some viral infections: the virus T-cell leukemia (HTLV-1) or Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
  4. Hereditary factor. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is not a hereditary disease. But there is a syndrome of genetic origin that increase the risk of disease: Down syndrome, Klinefelter's, Bloom, Louis-Bar (ataxia telangiectasia) and Fanconi anemia.
  5. Ethnicity: acute lymphocytic leukemia is more common in whites than in African Americans.
  6. Gender: The disease is slightly more common in men than in women.
  7. Having twins increases the risk in the first year of life.
  8. Uncertain, unproven or controversial risk factors: exposure to electromagnetic fields (for example, living near power or the use of cell phones); impact on workplace chemicals (diesel, gasoline, pesticides); smoking; effect of hair dye.

Causes of acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the moment unknown. The likelihood of many types of cancer can be reduced by lifestyle changes to avoid certain risk factors. But there is no known way to prevent most cases of leukemia. In the main part of the above cases there are no risk factors.

Symptoms of acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Acute lymphocytic leukemia can cause many different symptoms. Common symptoms include: loss of appetite and weight loss, night sweats, fever, fatigue.

The manifestations caused by lack of normal blood cells

These signs include dizziness, shortness of breath, fever, haemorrhage (bleeding gums, frequent nosebleeds), swelling in the abdomen, fatigue, recurrent infections. This disadvantage cells detect blood tests.

abdominal swelling

Pathological cells can accumulate in the spleen and liver, increasing them in size. This may be manifested as swelling or fullness. On examination, the doctor is required to detect this symptom of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. One of the well-known experts in the field of Oncology and HematologyTavor Sigal .

Symptoms of acute lymphoblastic leukemiaEnlarged lymph nodes

If the disease has spread to the lymph nodes that are close to the body surface (on the neck, in the armpits, or groin area), there may be noticeable bumps under the skin. In the area of ​​the chest or abdomen visualize them, usually by CT or MRI.

Pain in the bones and joints

Sometimes abnormal cells accumulate in the joints or bones, or near the surface of the bone tissue, causing pain.

Secondary lesions in other organs

The if acute for acute lymphoblastic of leukemia Affects the brain and spinal cord, CAN On occur cramps, numbness of the face, headache, blurred moving vision, vomiting, Problems view with Coordination.

When the spread of the disease in the chest cavity can accumulate fluid and breathing problems.

In rare cases, acute lymphocytic leukemia affects the skin, eyes, kidneys and other organs.

Enlarged thymus

One of the subtypes of the disease can affect the thymus. Increased body exerts pressure on the trachea, causing coughing or breathing disorders. Around the thymus is the upper hollow Vienna. At its compression of the thymus may develop swelling of the face, neck, arms, upper chest - superior vena cava syndrome. In addition, it can cause headaches, dizziness, change in consciousness, if there is an effect on the brain. This syndrome is a life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.

The prognosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia

A number of studies related to the treatment of leukemia, were aimed at finding out why some people have more opportunities to get rid of this disease than others. Prognostic factors - differences that were called were found. They help doctors decide on the extent of treatment for a specific type of leukemia.acute lymphoblastic leukemia prognosis

  1. Age: younger patients have a better prognosis.
  2. The initial number of white blood cells: low at diagnosis provides the best prognosis.
  3. Subtype acute lymphocytic leukemia: T-cell leukemia has a better prognosis than B-cell.
  4. Genetic mutations. Translocation between 4 and 11 and between 9 and 22 (if not used drugs targeted therapy) give a poorer prognosis than chromosome 7 absence or presence of an extra chromosome 8.
  5. The reaction to chemotherapy: Patients, who on the fourth or fifth week, reaching a state of complete remission after treatment, have a better prognosis.

Apart from the above, influence of disease status after treatment, as well disease responded to therapy.

  1. Remission - a condition when there are no symptoms of the disease. In the composition of the bone marrow component lymphoblast cells is less than 5%, the level of white blood cells - normal. Molecular remission was confirmed by laboratory diagnosis - PCR.
  2. Minimal residual disease indicates a state where the standard laboratory tests do not reveal the leukemia cells, but discovers cytometry or PCR. Patients with this status are at risk of relapse and a poorer prognosis.
  3. Active disease signs indicating presence or likelihood of recurrence of leukemia after therapy.

Israel has carried out active clinical trials of new methods of treatment of leukemia. There is the opportunity to participate in these patients.