Consolidation is the second phase of treatment for leukemia, following induction, and typically lasts about two to three months. The exact treatment varies according to risk level, patient health and the protocol being followed, but it typically involves intense chemotherapy intended to further reduce the presence of leukemia cells in the body.
During this phase, common chemotherapy includes methotrexate, mercaptopurine, vincristine, PEG or Erwinia, and steroids like prednisone or dexamethasone. Doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, and cytarabine may also be used.
Consolidation is often the first period during which patient’s hair falls out, and other side-effects start to develop, so monitoring and adjusting treatment intensity and timing according to the patient’s ability to tolerate the chemotherapy becomes essential.