Pediatric Leukemias Treatment


We are frequently able to make a diagnosis of leukemia and begin treatment on the same day. For each child who comes to Memorial Sloan Kettering, our experts develop a personalized treatment strategy, based on information including the child’s age, sex, complete blood count numbers, leukemia subtype, specific gene mutation, and risk of the cancer returning after remission, known as the risk group. The doctor will discuss these factors with you during the pretreatment consultation and after diagnostic test results are available.

Our multidisciplinary team of experts pioneered the use of new chemotherapy regimens that have increased long-term survival for children and young adults with leukemia. (1), (2) Memorial Sloan Kettering’s leukemia team was also the first group to recognize the importance of a child’s initial response to therapy as a key factor in selecting the most appropriate course of treatment. (3), (4)

Children who experience a rapid early response to treatment are usually at a lower risk of recurrence, so they can be treated with less-intensive therapy. This also results in fewer side effects. Children who do not experience a rapid early response are considered to be at a higher risk of disease recurrence, so they are treated with more-intensive therapy. With this approach, standard-risk and high-risk patients have an almost equal chance of a cure.

More than 95 percent of children and young adults with newly diagnosed leukemia treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering will experience remission, in which the treatment kills nearly all of the abnormal cells, symptoms subside, and normal blood cell production resumes.

Learn more about our approach to treatment.