Acute Myelogenous Leukemia

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Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. AML begins in immature myeloblasts and progresses very quickly. It may also occur as the end state of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), myelodysplastic syndromes, and myeloproliferative neoplasms  (polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia, and myelofibrosis).

Symptoms of AML

See a doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Paleness (a sign of anemia)
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Petechiae (flat, pinpoint spots under the skin caused by bleeding)
  • Weakness
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Bone pain
  • Joint pain
  • Enlarged liver and spleen
  • Swelling, pain and bleeding of the gums
  • Painless lumps in the neck, underarms, stomach or groin

A variety of blood, fluid and lymph node tests, along with imaging scans, may help with diagnosis.

AML Treatment

Treatment of AML usually occurs in phases:

  1. Remission-induction chemotherapy to kill leukemia cells
  2. Consolidation chemotherapy to prevent any remaining leukemia cells from growing and causing a relapse
  3. In some cases, maintenance therapy to stay in remission

Many patients with AML receive blood and platelet transfusions and antibiotics to prevent or treat infection. These procedures can take place at a hospital close to your home.

Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.