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Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Diagnostic Tools and Tests

The following are tests and diagnostic procedures that may be used to diagnose ALL to determine its sub-type and allow us to best evaluate its effects on you to choose the best treatment.

  • A physical exam and full medical history evaluation.
  • A complete blood count (CBC) that will examine the number of red blood cells and platelets, and the number and type of white blood cells. The CBC will also examine other portions of the blood.
  • Blood chemistry studies to evaluate the liver and kidneys.
  • Blood cultures or X-rays if there is any concern for infections.
  • Peripheral blood smear in which a sample of the blood cells is examined.
  • A bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, which will remove some bone marrow, blood, and a small piece of the bone through the hip. The tissue is then examined to identify the leukemic cells and do specialized testing to allow us to best determine the sub-type. A biopsy may also be performed through the breastbone.
  • Cytogenetic and molecular RT-PCR (reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction) studies that will identify genomic alterations, including the Philadelphia chromosome, so clinicians can design and implement optimal treatment plans.
  • A lumbar puncture, or spinal tap to evaluate the spinal fluid for possible evidence of leukemic involvement.