While many cancers are classified by stages, acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is not. The three designations for ALL are untreated, in remission and recurrent.
Newly diagnosed ALL is described as untreated. Treatment has begun only for relief of symptoms, such as fever and bleeding. Diagnosis has confirmed the following:
- The complete blood count (CBC) is abnormal.
- Greater than 20 percent of bone marrow or blood cells are leukemia cells.
- Signs and symptoms of leukemia are present.
ALL in Remission
After treatment, ALL may be considered to be in remission. This means tests have confirmed the following:
- CBC is normal.
- No leukemia cells are present in the bone marrow.
- No signs or symptoms of leukemia are evident anywhere in the body.
ALL that returns after going into remission is called recurrent. It may come back in the blood and bone marrow or in other parts of the body, for example, the lymph nodes, inner organs or spinal fluid.