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Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

An aggressive (fast-growing) disease in which too many myeloblasts (immature white blood cells that are not lymphoblasts) are found in the bone marrow and blood.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

Adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells, or platelets.

Adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. This type of cancer usually gets worse quickly if it is not treated. It is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults. AML is also called acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia, and acute nonlymphocytic leukemia....Read more about Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes a large number of abnormal blood cells.

Childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. AML is also called acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia, and acute nonlymphocytic leukemia. Cancers that are acute usually get worse quickly if they are not treated. Cancers that are chronic usually get worse slowly....Read more about Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Stem cell transplantation in adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) or acute myeloid leukaemia (AML): Executive summary of final report N05-03A, Version 1.0

The aims of this review were the evaluation of studies on certain types of stem cell transplantation versus conventional chemotherapy in adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) or acute myeloid leukaemia (AML); evaluation of studies on certain types of stem cell transplantation compared with each other in adults with ALL or AML.

The role of interleukin‐2 as maintenance therapy in children and adults with acute myeloid leukaemia in first complete remission

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a malignant cancer of blood cells. Most people with AML are subjected to chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation to eliminate cancer cells. In response to these treatments, people might achieve complete remission (CR), the status without cancer cells in blood and signs of blood cancer. Although the disease is well controlled at the beginning of the treatment, AML may return, progress again, and result in unsatisfactory life expectancy. People in CR still need to receive further treatment. Interleukin‐2 (IL‐2) is an alternative as maintenance therapy to maintain the curative effect and deter disease progression. Clinical results have been published comparing the use of IL‐2 and no maintenance therapy in people who had achieved CR, but the effect of IL‐2 remains unclear.

Idarubicin for treatment of newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukaemia

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a type of cancer that mainly affects bone marrow and peripheral blood. Although 40% to 45% of AML patients enjoy long‐term disease‐free survival, most patients will die of the disease. Induction therapy is the first phase of treatment of newly diagnosed AML which is essential for prolonging survival. An anthracycline (a class of chemotherapy drugs derived from the Streptomyces bacterium Streptomyces peucetius var. caesius) combined with cytarabine (a chemotherapy drug used mainly in treatment of haematological malignancies) has remained the standard of induction therapy for several decades. Nowadays there are several kinds of anthracyclines available, among which idarubicin (IDA) draws more attention because of its theoretical advantages in improving efficacy and reducing side effects. However, clinical trials comparing IDA with other anthracyclines have conflicting results.

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Summaries for consumers

The role of interleukin‐2 as maintenance therapy in children and adults with acute myeloid leukaemia in first complete remission

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a malignant cancer of blood cells. Most people with AML are subjected to chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation to eliminate cancer cells. In response to these treatments, people might achieve complete remission (CR), the status without cancer cells in blood and signs of blood cancer. Although the disease is well controlled at the beginning of the treatment, AML may return, progress again, and result in unsatisfactory life expectancy. People in CR still need to receive further treatment. Interleukin‐2 (IL‐2) is an alternative as maintenance therapy to maintain the curative effect and deter disease progression. Clinical results have been published comparing the use of IL‐2 and no maintenance therapy in people who had achieved CR, but the effect of IL‐2 remains unclear.

Idarubicin for treatment of newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukaemia

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a type of cancer that mainly affects bone marrow and peripheral blood. Although 40% to 45% of AML patients enjoy long‐term disease‐free survival, most patients will die of the disease. Induction therapy is the first phase of treatment of newly diagnosed AML which is essential for prolonging survival. An anthracycline (a class of chemotherapy drugs derived from the Streptomyces bacterium Streptomyces peucetius var. caesius) combined with cytarabine (a chemotherapy drug used mainly in treatment of haematological malignancies) has remained the standard of induction therapy for several decades. Nowadays there are several kinds of anthracyclines available, among which idarubicin (IDA) draws more attention because of its theoretical advantages in improving efficacy and reducing side effects. However, clinical trials comparing IDA with other anthracyclines have conflicting results.

Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Treatment options for adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem cell transplant, and other medications. Get detailed information about the treatment of new and recurrent AML in this expert-reviewed summary.

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Terms to know

Acute
Describes something that happens suddenly and for a short time. Opposite of chronic, or long lasting.
Blood
A tissue with red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and other substances suspended in fluid called plasma. Blood takes oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, and carries away wastes.
Bone Marrow
The soft, sponge-like tissue in the center of most bones. It produces white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
Granulocytes
A type of immune cell that has granules (small particles) with enzymes that are released during infections, allergic reactions, and asthma. Neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils are granulocytes. A granulocyte is a type of white blood cell.
Leukemia
Cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of blood cells to be produced and enter the bloodstream.
Lymphoblasts
A lymphocyte that has gotten larger after being stimulated by an antigen. Lymphoblast also refers to an immature cell that can develop into a mature lymphocyte.
Lymphocytes
A lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell that is part of the immune system. There are two main types of lymphocytes: B cells and T cells. The B cells produce antibodies that are used to attack invading bacteria, viruses, and toxins. The T cells destroy the body's own cells that have themselves been taken over by viruses or become cancerous.
Lymphoid
Referring to lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Also refers to tissue in which lymphocytes develop.
Myeloblasts
A type of immature white blood cell that forms in the bone marrow. Myeloblasts become mature white blood cells called granulocytes (neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils).
Myeloid
Having to do with or resembling the bone marrow. May also refer to certain types of hematopoietic (blood-forming) cells found in the bone marrow. Sometimes used as a synonym for myelogenous; for example, acute myeloid leukemia and acute myelogenous leukemia are the same disease.
Stem Cells
A cell from which other types of cells develop. For example, blood cells develop from blood-forming stem cells.

More about Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Photo of an adult

Also called: Acute granulocytic leukaemia, Acute myeloblastic leukaemia, Acute myelocytic leukaemia, Acute myelogenous leukaemia, Acute myeloid leukaemia, Acute non-lymphocytic leukaemia, Acute granulocytic leukemia, Acute myeloblastic leukemia, Acute myelocytic leukemia, Acute myelogenous leukemia, Acute non-lymphocytic leukemia

Other terms to know: See all 11
Acute, Blood, Bone Marrow

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