Forms of Leukemia

The most commonly diagnosed types and subtypes of leukemia (as well as some rare forms) and many of the possible treatments are included in this table. Discuss your options with your health care team.


Cancer type Description

Acute lymphocytic (lymphoblastic) leukemia (ALL)

• Abnormal lymphoblasts develop quickly and block the production of normal bone marrow cells

Acute precursor B-cell (pre-B-cell) lymphoblastic leukemia

• Fast-growing
• Excess of B-cell lymphoblasts

Acute T-cell (lymphoblastic) leukemia (T-cell ALL)

• Fast-growing
• Excess of T-cell lymphoblasts in bone marrow

Burkitt acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL)

• Rare
• Fast-growing
• Rapid increase of B-cell lymphocytes

Ph-positive (Philadelphia-positive) ALL

• Has the gene mutation BCR-ABL
• Philadelphia chromosome present
• Fast-growing
• Abundance of B-cell lymphoblasts

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

• Abnormal myeloblasts develop quickly and block the production of normal bone marrow cells

Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL)

• Abnormal promyelocytes accumulate in bone marrow

Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL)

• 4 subtypes: smoldering, chronic, acute, lymphomatous

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

• Slow-growing
• Excess of abnormal B- or T-cell lymphocytes

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)

• Grows slowly at first
• Affects myeloid cells
• Philadelphia chromosome usually present

Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML)

• Elevated number of monocytes
• Affects primarily people ages 65-75

Hairy cell leukemia (HCL)

• Rare and slow-growing
• Cells appear hairy under microscope
• More common in men
• Average age at diagnosis, 50

Large granular lymphocytic leukemia (LGLL)

• Affects T-cells or NK-cells
• Larger lymphocytes with noticeable granules

Natural killer cell leukemia (NK)

• Rare
• Aggressive growth of NK- cells

Prolymphocytic leukemia (PLL)

• Rare
• Affects B- or T-cell lymphocytes
• Numerous immature lymphocytes
• Affects primarily people ages 65-70


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