Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

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Treatment Options

The initial treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) involves using chemotherapy to destroy the leukemic cells in the bone marrow, the blood and the organs where it’s present, if any, and to put ALL into remission. The treatment occurs in several phases and can take as long as three years to complete. The initial treatment does not work in 15 to 20 percent of ALL cases. These cases require another round of treatment using different chemotherapy. In addition, in a significant number of people, the disease might come back after initial remission. And for some patients, a bone marrow transplant may provide the best chance of cure.

Access to clinical trials conducted by the physician/researchers at SCCA’s parent organizations—Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s—is one reason why many patients come to SCCA for treatment of ALL. The goal of clinical studies is to develop more effective life-saving treatments in the fight against leukemia. At any time, SCCA’s parent organizations have around 50 ongoing studies that are evaluating new treatments for leukemia. Be sure to ask your doctor if one of them is right for you. For more information, see our clinical studies section.


Chemotherapy is the primary treatment for ALL.

Other Therapies

Learn about other therapies used to treat ALL, including CNS prophylaxis, targeted drug therapy and radiation.

Bone Marrow Transplant

Bone marrow transplant may be the appropriate treatment for some ALL patients.

Therapy Phases for ALL

For most patients, treatment for ALL is given in three phases.

Side Effects

Learn about the side effects of the various treatments for ALL.