Notice: Users may be experiencing issues with displaying some pages on stanfordhealthcare.org. We are working closely with our technical teams to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience.
There are four main types of leukemia, which can be further divided into subtypes. When classifying the type of leukemia, the first steps are to determine if the cancer is:
Lymphocytic or myelogenous leukemia
Cancer can occur in either the lymphoid or myeloid white blood cells.
When the cancer develops in the lymphocytes (lymphoid cells), it is called lymphocytic leukemia.
When the cancer develops in the granulocytes or monocytes (myeloid cells), it is called myelogenous leukemia.
Acute or chronic leukemia
Leukemia is either "acute" or "chronic."
Acute leukemia: The new or immature cells, called blasts, remain very immature and cannot perform their functions. The blasts increase in number rapidly, and the disease progresses quickly.
Chronic leukemia: There are some blast cells present, but they are more mature and are able to perform some of their functions. The cells grow more slowly, and the number increases less quickly, so the disease progresses gradually.
Based on these findings, the leukemia is then classified into one of the four main types of leukemias.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.