Definition of Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Reviewed on 6/3/2021

Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (C-ALL): A type of cancer of the bone marrow that produces immature lymphocytes (a type of blood cell) in the bloodstream. This is the most common type of cancer in children and progresses quickly if not treated. Symptoms can include easy bruising, fever, weakness, bone or joint pain, loss of appetite, and painless enlargement of the lymph nodes. Past treatment for cancer and certain genetic conditions (including Fanconi anemia, Down syndrome, and ataxia-telangiectasia) affect the risk of having childhood ALL.

The exact cause of C-ALL is poorly understood. Also known as childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia.


What is leukemia? See Answer
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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