What is the relationship of leukemia cells to the central nervous system?

Even after a remission has been achieved, studies of spinal fluid may reveal the presence of leukemic cells in the central nervous system of some patients. The fact that some leukemic cells have found a sanctuary in the central nervous system makes them a threat to the patient. Due to the properties of the capillary walls that prevent certain substances from passing from the blood to the central nervous system, these leukemic cells are not killed by the chemotherapeutic drugs.
Radiation therapy and drugs administered directly into the spinal fluid are being used to help prevent and control central nervous system leukemia. This is more common with ALL than with other types of leukemia.


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