Childhood Leukemia

+ -Text Size

Treating Leukemia in Children TOPICS

Treatment of children with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)

This leukemia is rare in children, but it does occur. Treatment in children is similar to what is used for adults.

Targeted drugs, such as imatinib (Gleevec) and dasatinib (Sprycel), attack cells with the Philadelphia chromosome, which is the key gene abnormality in CML. These drugs are usually very effective at controlling CML, often for long periods of time and with less severe side effects than chemotherapy drugs. However, these drugs do not seem to cure CML when used alone, and they must be taken every day.

Imatinib is usually the drug tried first. If it does not work or if it becomes less effective over time, another drug may be tried. If targeted drugs are no longer helpful, high-dose chemotherapy with a stem cell transplant offers the best chance for a cure. Doctors are now studying whether adding targeted drugs to stem cell transplant regimens can help increase cure rates.

For more information on CML and its treatment, see our document, Leukemia--Chronic Myeloid.


Last Medical Review: 10/24/2013
Last Revised: 02/03/2014