Consolidation is the second stage in treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the task of which is to consolidate the results of initial therapy. For this purpose, the patient is administered a combination of new anticancer drugs. Specific drugs are chosen based on the patient's risk. A short course of consolidation therapy (less than 1 month) is carried out on the eve of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.
The treatment is preceded by a thorough examination of the patient. The diagnostic program includes:
- oncologist’s advice,
- case history collection,
- complete blood count,
- blood chemistry,
- cytogenetic analysis.
Based on the test findings, the physician selects the optimal chemotherapy regimen.
During treatment, the patient stays in the clinic where he remains under close medical supervision. The duration of hospitalization depends on the therapy program, and its cost on the drugs and length of stay in the clinic. Before the stem cell transplantation procedure, the consolidation phase lasts no more than 25 days.
Chemotherapeutic drugs are mainly administered intravenously. The patients in the standard risk group are prescribed a combination of anti-metabolites, sometimes with the addition of asparaginase, cyclophosphamide and other drugs. Patients with a high risk of relapse receive more intensive course with involvement of cytarabine and anthracyclines.
In order to prevent neuroleukemia, the drugs are also administered into the cavity of the spinal canal (intrathecally) or into the brain ventricles. During therapy, this treatment is carried out 2 to 4 times.
Consolidation is accompanied by a number of side effects:
- nausea, vomiting,
- increased bleeding
- hair loss,
- prone to infectious diseases.
In order to mitigate the adverse effects, the patients are prescribed symptomatic therapy. To avoid infections, it is advised to limit the contact with other people and observe strict hygienic requirements. Before discharge, the physician provides recommendations for further treatment.