Acute myeloid leukemia

Alternative Names

Acute myelogenous leukemia; AML; Acute granulocytic leukemia; Acute nonlymphocytic leukemia (ANLL); Leukemia – acute myeloid (AML); Leukemia – acute granulocytic; Leukemia – nonlymphocytic (ANLL)

Definition of Acute myeloid leukemia

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is cancer that starts inside bone marrow, the soft tissue inside bones that helps form blood cells. The cancer grows from cells that would normally turn into white blood cells.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is one of the most common types of leukemia among adults. This type of cancer is rare under age 40. It generally occurs around age 60. (This article focuses on AML in adults.)

Signs and tests

The doctor will perform a physical exam. There may be signs of a swollen spleen, liver, or lymph nodes.

Treatment

Treatment involves using medicines to kill the cancer cells. This is called . But chemotherapy kills normal cells, too. This may cause side effects such as excessive bleeding and an increased risk for infection. Your doctor may want to keep you away from other people to prevent infection.

Expectations (prognosis)

When the signs and symptoms of AML go away, you are said to be in remission. Complete remission occurs in most patients.

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 9/6/2010

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Blood cells

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