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Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)

What is Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)?

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Benzene exposure causes Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia with more than 10,000 new cases diagnosed annually!

Each year, approximately 10,600 new cases of acute mylogenous leukemia (AML) are diagnosed in the United States . That's about 2.3 cases for every 100,000 people. AML affects adults much more often than it does children, with people over the age of 65 falling into the highest risk group.

Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) is also known by several other names, including Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia, Acute Myelocytic Leukemia and Acute Nonlymphocytic Leukemia. AML is not inherited or contagious. It develops when there is a defect in the immature cells in the bone marrow. The exact cause of AML is unknown, but some environmental factors are linked with AML, including exposure to radiation and Benzene .

AML occurs in all ages but more often in older adults. With more than 10,000 new cases diagnosed annually, AML is the more common type of Acute Leukemia in adults (the other type is Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia).

The average age of people diagnosed with AML is 65. AML affects more men than women, and is slightly more common among whites than blacks.

Acute Myelogenous Leukemia - Diagnosis

A blood count of at least thirty percent myeloblasts is required for a diagnosis of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. Mature white blood cell counts may be high, low, or normal. Platelets, the cells responsible for normal blood clotting, are usually at lower than normal levels.

Once AML is diagnosed, the disease is further classified into one of eight different subtypes, each described according to the abnormal cell's morphology. Cell morphology is how the cells appear under a microscope. The disease is then classified into FAB (French-American-British) subtypes.

FAB subtypes are referenced by letter and number. For AML, the letter is M, and the sub-types are M0 to M8. (See the AML Classification Subtypes box below for a list of the FAB types.) Because different sub-groups of leukemia respond to different treatments, identifying the disease's FAB classification is vital.

Acute Myelogenous Leukemia - Symptoms

Someone with too few red blood cells (anemia) may:

  • Feel tired
  • Be short of breath
  • Look pale
  • Someone with too few platelets may:
    Bleed easily, for example, get swollen and bleeding gums, frequent nose bleeds or cuts that bleed for a long time
    Bruise more easily than usual
    Get pin-head sized spots under the skin
    Get cuts that heal slowly or do not heal
    Someone with too few normal white blood cells and too many leukemia blast cells may
    Get a lot of infections, for example, a sore throat
    Have pain in the bones or joints
    Have a mild fever

Acute Myelogenous Leukemia - Prognosis

In 1999, approximately 6900 people in the US died from AML. In adults, treatment results generally are analyzed separately for younger (18-60 y) and older (>60 y) patients.

With current standard chemotherapy regimens, approximately 25-30% of adults younger than 60 years survive longer than 5 years and are considered cured.

Results in older patients are more disappointing, with fewer than 10% of patients surviving long-term.

Without treatment, AML often proves fatal within three to four months. Prompt treatment greatly increases a patient's chance of survival. Seventy to eighty percent of treated cases result in remission -the reduction or disappearance of cancer symptoms.

Resource Links for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)   (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society)

Gleevec Approved for First Line Treatment of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML)   (Food and Drug Administration)

Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia (PDQ): Treatment   (National Cancer Institute)

Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)   (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society)

Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia / Other Myeloid Malignancies (PDQ): Treatment   (National Cancer Institute)

Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)   (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society)

Long Term and Late Effects of Treatment for Blood-Related Cancers   (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society)


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