What are the benefits and side effects of radioimmunotherapy for leukemia?

For patients with leukemia, radioimmunotherapy offers the following advantages:
  • The radiotherapeutic antibody targets and then delivers radiation directly to leukemia cells.
  • By targeting radiation directly to leukemia cells, radioimmunotherapy minimizes side effects associated with most high-dose chemotherapy regimens.
  • Radioimmunotherapy is usually delivered over a shorter period of time (seven to nine days), compared to several months with standard chemotherapy.
Side effects of radioimmunotherapy for leukemia depend on several factors, including whether you have chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy before receiving radioimmunotherapy.

The most common side effect of radioimmunotherapy is a temporary lowering of blood counts caused by radiation to the bone marrow. This reduction in blood cell counts may cause neutropenia or anemia. Other treatment-related side effects may include fatigue, nausea, weakness, diarrhea or skin rash.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.