Which medications are used in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)?

Updated: Jun 20, 2019
  • Author: Karen Seiter, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Antineoplastic agents are used for induction, consolidation, and maintenance therapy and central nervous system (CNS) prophylaxis in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Those medications cause severe bone marrow depression, and only physicians specifically trained in their use should administer them. In addition, access to appropriate supportive care is required. Other drug classes used in treatment of ALL include the following:

  • Corticosteroids may be used during induction, consolidation, and/or  maintenance therapy
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors are used in treatment of Philadelphia chromosome–positive (Ph+) ALL
  • Drug therapies for relapsed or refractory ALL include cell-based gene therapy and reinduction regimens
  • Colony-stimulating factors are used to treat or prevent neutropenia and to mobilize autologous peripheral blood progenitor cells for bone marrow transplantation (BMT) and in management of chronic neutropenia        
  • Prophylactic antibiotics and antifungal drugs are given to prevent infection in patients receiving chemotherapy

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