The main treatment for ALL is chemotherapy. Other treatments that may be used include targeted therapy and a stem cell transplant. Your course of treatment will depend on the type of ALL you have and how it responds to treatment.
The aim of treatment for ALL is to get rid of the leukaemia cells and allow the bone marrow to work normally again. This is called remission.
After treatment, doctors use blood and bone marrow tests to check if you are in remission. If the tests can’t find any leukaemia cells the doctor will say you are in remission.
Sometimes small amounts of leukaemia cells may still be in your body after you are in remission. This is called minimal residual disease (MRD). MRD can’t be seen using standard tests so doctors use more sensitive tests. The main test used is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Another test called immunophenotyping may also be used. We have more information about these tests.
You will have tests for MRD during and after your treatment. The results of these tests help doctors:
- make decisions about your treatment
- see how well your treatment has worked
- see if your leukaemia is more likely to come back.