Leukemia treatment and recovery

Our leading-edge, personalized treatment for leukemia can include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, biological therapy, radiation, surgery and stem cell transplants.

Available treatments

The first line of treatment depends on the type and stage of leukemia, plus other conditions. Our multidisciplinary team will put together the right plan for you, which may include these common treatments:

Chemotherapy. A regimen of several drugs used together. Each medication destroys tumor cells in different ways, so a combination of drugs is often more effective.

Targeted therapy. Additional drugs used in combination with chemotherapy and other leukemia treatments. Chemotherapy can affect all cells, but targeted therapy directly attacks leukemia cells, helping to reduce damage to healthy cells and reduce side effects.

Biological therapy. In some cases of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), we might use biological therapy—natural or artificial substances that change the way cells behave. We would consider this if you cannot cope with the side effects of, or the CML is resistant to, targeted therapies.

Radiation or surgery. We may use radiation to destroy leukemia cells, to relieve discomfort caused by an enlarged liver or spleen or swollen lymph nodes, or to help treat pain from damage in the bone marrow. If an enlarged spleen doesn’t respond to treatment, we may perform surgery to remove the spleen (splenectomy).

Stem cell transplant. We may use this early in treatment. We infuse healthy blood-forming stem cells into the body, which may come from the patient or from a matched donor.