The following are treatment options for childhood anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). The healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your child’s needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan. Treatments are often based on the stage.
Sometimes childhood ALCL develops only in the skin. This is called cutaneous ALCL. It may be treated with surgery, radiation therapy or both. Sometimes chemotherapy with low-dose methotrexate is also given.
First-line therapy is the first or most common treatment used. The following may be used as first-line therapy for ALCL.
Chemotherapy is the main treatment for childhood ALCL. How long chemotherapy is given and the combinations of drugs given depend on whether the ALCL is ALK-positive or ALK-negative and the stage of the cancer. Chemotherapy for low-stage (stage I and II) ALCL may be given for 3–6 months. Chemotherapy for high-stage (stage III and IV) ALCL may be given for 9–12 months.
Chemotherapy drugs are given in different combinations based on different treatment plans (called protocols). The most common chemotherapy drugs used in combinations for ALCL are:
Intrathecal chemotherapy may be given to prevent spread of NHL to the brain and spinal cord (called the central nervous system, or CNS) or to treat NHL that has spread to the CNS. This means that the drugs are given directly into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) around the brain and spinal cord. Intrathecal chemotherapy can include 1 to 3 of the following drugs:
Some chemotherapy drugs and combinations used for recurrent ALCL include:
Many children with childhood ALCL will be treated in a clinical trial that is tailored to the risk group or stage of their disease. The clinical trial protocol, or plan, outlines the treatments used (such as chemotherapy), as well as the drugs and dosages used. Find out more about clinical trials.
For more than 50 years, the Canadian Cancer Society’s transportation program has enabled patients to focus their energy on fighting cancer and not on worrying about how they will get to treatment.