New scoring tool helps children and teens with leukemia

Tool forecasts how well blood and marrow transplant will work

Age0 - 17 years old
Number of Participants2,569
Research GoalImprove Survival
Leukemia is a blood cancer. Blood and marrow transplant (BMT) can cure leukemia. But, BMT may have serious side effects. In the past, it was hard to know whether BMT or other treatments would be better for a child with leukemia. 

To help, researchers studied the medical records of 2,500 children and teens. These young people had either: 
  • acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or 
  • acute myeloid leukemia (AML). 

Researchers noticed patterns in which treatments worked best for different children. The researchers used statistics to create the new tool. This simple tool that can used by your doctor in clinic forecasts how likely it is that BMT will help, based on the child’s: 
  • age at BMT, 
  • how well leukemia treatments have worked so far, and 
  • makeup of leukemia cells, called cytogenetics (pronounced si-toe-jeh-NET-iks). 

If the tool suggests that BMT won’t help a child, then they can get other treatments instead. 

Keep in mind 

This tool can’t guarantee that treatment will work. Like a weather forecast, the tool estimates the chance that BMT will help. Also, the tool applies only to children with leukemia. More research is needed to help children with other diseases. 

Ask your doctor 

  • How might this Pediatric Disease Risk Index apply to my child? 
  • What are the possible treatments for my child? 
  • What are the possible harms and benefits?