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Duke's leukemia doctors work as a team to detect and treat leukemia, which occurs when the white blood cells produced in the bone marrow do not mature normally. The abnormal cells prevent the body from making healthy blood cells and can't fight infection. Our board-certified specialists provide personalized care to people with all types of leukemia including: 

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
  • Hairy cell leukemia (HCL)​​​​​​
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)
  • Blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN)

We plan a comprehensive treatment strategy for you that uses the most advanced therapies, including many that were developed right here at Duke. Our goal is to give you the personalized care you need to bring you back to good health and maximize your quality of life.

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Active Surveillance

This approach is an option for people with hairy cell leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome. It involves close monitoring and regularly performed tests and exams. If changes occur, a more extensive treatment plan is implemented.

Biologic Therapy

Biologic therapy that stimulates the body’s immune system to fight cancer is often referred to as immunotherapy. Biologic therapy is an option for some people who don't respond to other treatments.


Chemotherapy kills or slows the growth of cancer cells. Systemic chemotherapy is administered to the whole body via oral medication or an injection. It can be given in the hospital or at home.

Targeted Therapy

Monoclonal antibody therapy is a targeted therapy that is administered orally. The monoclonal antibodies attach to substances that make cancer cells grow, then kill the cancer cells or halt their growth. 

Stem Cell or Bone Marrow Transplant

A stem cell or bone marrow transplant replaces leukemia cells with healthy blood cells.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.


Genetic Tests

Cancers are due to genetic changes occurring in a normal cell.  These genetic changes pinpoint your specific diagnosis, and determine your treatment needs


Removes a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope and for additional testing. A biopsy is required for a definitive diagnosis, and may also be used to determine if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, or elsewhere.

MRI, PET, and CT Scans

These imaging scans help us diagnose your leukemia and recommend the best treatment plan.

New Patient Appointment

Why Choose Duke

Largest Leukemia Center in North Carolina
We treat nearly 1,000 patients with blood cancers each year, more than any other facility in North Carolina. In addition, as a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, we are recognized as meeting rigorous standards for laboratory, clinical, and population-based research, and for focusing our scientific efforts on developing new and better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer. We are also part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving patient care.

The Duke Cancer Institute
The Duke Cancer Institute brings together the extensive resources of Duke University, Duke Health, and the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center. We are committed to making innovative discoveries, developing new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer, and delivering those therapies in a patient- and family-centric way.

Team of Leukemia Specialists
Our team includes hematologic, medical, radiation, and surgical oncologists, dermatologists, palliative care, psychologists, infectious disease doctors, radiologists, specially trained nurses, nutritionists, and social workers. They meet regularly to discuss your condition, collect opinions, and offer advanced medical and follow-up care. 

Pioneering Leukemia Treatment Options
Novel techniques, such as less intensive chemotherapy before a stem cell transplant, were pioneered in part at Duke, and now offer new hope to people with leukemia. We were part of a national study that determined people with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) taking imatinib (Gleevec) can expect to have long-term survival compared to those with traditional interferon-alpha therapy, which is now used at many medical centers across the country.

Treatment for Blastic Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Neoplasm
Recently, BPDCN was recognized as an uncommon subtype of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Treatment may include the only FDA-approved agent (brand name Elzonris) or a stem cell transplant. Therapies may also be available through clinical trials.

Clinical Trial Access 
You may be eligible to participate in clinical trials of new targeted therapies and ways to minimize common cancer-related symptoms before they become widely available at other hospitals.

Support for You and Your Loved Ones
Our comprehensive cancer support services range from helping to minimize the side effects of treatment, to coping with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment. These services include nutrition counseling, palliative care, guided imagery, anxiety control, and meditation. Our cancer survivorship clinic pulls together resources specially designed to help survivors after treatment ends. You can view all of our cancer support groups in our event calendar.  

Best Cancer Hospital in North Carolina

Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cancer program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.

This page was medically reviewed on 02/08/2022