- How is childhood leukemia treated?
- Immediate treatment of childhood leukemia
- Surgery for childhood leukemia
- Radiation treatment for childhood leukemia
- Chemotherapy for childhood leukemia
- Targeted therapy for childhood leukemia
- High-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant for childhood leukemia
- Treatment of children with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
- Treatment of children with acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
- Treatment of children with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL)
- Treatment of children with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML)
- Treatment of children with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
Targeted therapy for childhood leukemia
In recent years, new drugs that are aimed at certain parts of cancer cells have been developed. These are called targeted drugs. They work differently from standard chemotherapy drugs. They sometimes work when chemo drugs don’t, and they often have less severe side effects. Some of these drugs may be useful in certain types of childhood leukemia.
For example, drugs such as imatinib (Gleevec) and dasatinib (Sprycel) can be used to treat children with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), as well as a small portion of children with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). These drugs are taken as pills. Possible side effects include diarrhea, nausea, muscle pain, feeling tired, and skin rashes. Often these side effects are mild. A common side effect is swelling around the eyes or in the hands or feet. These drugs may also slow a child’s growth, especially if used before puberty.
Last Medical Review: 05/13/2015
Last Revised: 02/03/2016