Abstract Quality of life (QOL) in children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is now considered an important outcome measure of treatment for this disease. The aim of this paper is to systematically review studies on QOL in children during treatment for ALL with consideration to methodological details and quality of studies, empirical findings on QOL as reported by children and parents, and whether children and parents differ in their reports on QOL. Searches were conducted in biomedical, psychological and behavioural science databases. Six papers met inclusion criteria for review: 4 cross-sectional studies and 2 qualitative studies. There was little consistency in how QOL was measured or qualitatively assessed across studies. The quality of most studies was limited by small sample sizes and cross-sectional designs. Children's reports on QOL were represented in 3 studies and discrepancies were found between children's and parent's accounts of QOL. There is a need for ongoing research on QOL in children with ALL that use longitudinal designs, large sample sizes, and child reports of QOL. There is a need for theoretical development of the concept of QOL through concept analysis, grounded theory research and empirical validation of developing theory of QOL. Theoretical development of the concept of QOL will contribute to greater clarification of what is meant by QOL than currently exists which in turn has the potential to advance the methodology of measuring this concept in children.