NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Version 1.2017
Testing for ALL
maging) uses radio
waves and magnets to take pictures of the inside
the body. MRI scans create clear pictures of soft
tissues and bones. MRI scans are also very helpful
for looking at the brain and spinal cord. An MRI scan
of your head and/or spinal cord should be done if you
have symptoms that suggest ALL might have spread
to your brain and spinal cord.
omography) shows how
your cells are using a simple form of sugar. For a
PET scan, a sugar radiotracer will first be injected
into your body. The radiotracer is detected by a
special camera during the scan. Any cells that use
sugar more quickly, including normal cells (such as
those within the brain) and abnormal cells (such as
leukemia), can be detected by this scan. PET scans
are often combined with a CT scan to help your
doctors better understand which areas of the body
may be impacted by leukemia. Like standard CT
imaging, PET/CT imaging is most helpful when your
doctor suspects there may be leukemia growing in
places other than the bone marrow.
An ultrasound is a test that uses sound waves to take
pictures of the inside of the body. For males, this test
may be ordered after a testicular exam to examine
the area further. An ultrasound of the scrotum (sac
that contains the testicles) may be needed. It can
show if there is a mass in the testicles. If a mass is
present, it will help doctors see if it is solid or fluid-
filled (cyst). Cysts are usually not cancer (benign).
Echocardiogram or cardiac nuclear
An echocardiogram is an imaging test of your heart.
It uses sound waves to make pictures. This test
is used to check how well your heart is working. It
shows your doctor how your heart is beating and
A cardiac nuclear medicine scan also assesses how
your heart is working. This test uses a radiotracer,
just like a PET scan, to get detailed pictures. It can
help doctors see how well your heart is able to pump
Some treatments for ALL can damage your heart.
Thus, your doctor may want to test how well your
heart works in order to plan the best treatment. This
is especially true for an MRI scan.