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Blood Count Test Helps Predict Leukemia Treatment Outcomes

Conquest - Summer 2010

Using information from a common and simple complete blood count test may more accurately predict treatment outcomes in young leukemia patients.

Patrick Zweidler-McKay, M.D., Ph.D.

This retrospective study illustrated that the minimal residual disease indicator and the absolute lymphocyte count together enable physicians to better predict which patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia will remain disease free and who will most likely relapse.

Not only do low lymphocyte counts predict poor outcome, but patients with high lymphocyte counts also have excellent outcomes, and clinicians may be able to reduce the amount of chemotherapy these patients receive.

“Our ultimate goal is to use these prognostic tools in the future to guide treatments for our patients,” says Patrick Zweidler-McKay, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor at MD Anderson’s Children’s Cancer Hospital and first author. “If we know that a patient is at high risk for relapse from the beginning, then potentially we can adjust the treatment plan to a more aggressive therapy.”

Reported in April at the annual meeting of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center