Stem cell transplantation does not usually directly treat hematologic cancer. Its main use in hematologic cancer therapy is to restore the function of the bone marrow after it has been impaired by invasion with cancer cells or by its treatment. Stem cell transplantation is most commonly used after high-dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy have destroyed many of the normal cells in the bone marrow. Without the option of stem cell transplantation, such potent anticancer therapy is not possible and the chances of cure are less. Stem cell transplantation can also be administered after less strong doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, which do not destroy all the cancer cells in the bone marrow. In this situation, the infused cells will not only produce normal blood cells to replace those lacking because of the cancer or therapy, but white blood cells which are often present in the stem cell mixture may directly attack and destroy the cancer cells.
Myron E. Bednar, MD
Specialty: Hematology & Oncology
- Hematology & Oncology
- Internal Medicine
Location and Office HoursHunterdon Medical
2100 Wescott Dr
Flemington, NJ 08822
- Hunterdon Medical Center
- How does stem cell transplantation treat hematologic cancer?
What is tumor lysis syndrome?
Tumor lysis syndrome is a condition caused by the destruction of a large number of tumor cells and the release of their contents into the bloodstream. It occurs most commonly when potent chemotherapy is used for hematologic cancers, especially acute leukemias and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It causes high levels of potassium, uric acid, and phosphate, and low levels of calcium in the blood. The abnormal potassium and calcium levels can cause seizures and changes in heart rhythm, which may lead to cardiac arrest. Kidney impairment or even failure can occur because of uric acid crystals or calcium-phosphate stones collecting in the kidneys. Tumor lysis syndrome is a very serious condition that requires prompt and appropriate treatment by a doctor.
How are hematologic cancers diagnosed?
The diagnosis of hematologic cancer is often suspected by symptoms or findings on physical examination. These symptoms indicate the presence of excessive cells in the bone marrow or lymphatic system (for example, bone pain and enlarged lymph nodes) or low numbers of normal blood cells. Blood tests may suggest the diagnosis by showing low numbers of normal blood cells. In myeloma, the diagnosis may be suspected by finding high quantities of proteins (produced by the cancer cells) in the blood or urine. The diagnosis of hematologic cancer, however, can only be made with certainty by examining cells from the cancer under a microscope. Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy are common ways to obtain these cells for examination in leukemia and myeloma. During these tests (which are usually done at the same time), small samples of bone marrow are removed through a needle inserted into a bone. In lymphoma, cancer cells are often obtained by biopsy of an enlarged lymph node.Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
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