acute myelogenous leukaemia -->
acute myeloid leukaemia
medical dictionary

<haematology> A rapidly progressing cancer of the blood affecting immature cells of the bone marrow, usually of the white cell population. It is much more common in adults than in children.

Symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, fevers, weakness, pallor, bone pains, bleeding gums, nosebleeds, easy bruising, enlarged lymph nodes and joint pains.

Treatment includes chemotherapy and/or bone marrow transplant.

This leukaemia demonstrates granulocyte differentiation, eosinophilia and Auer rods and is associated with a reciprocal translocation between 8 and 21 (q22;q22), which is the most common translocation in acute myeloid leukaemia and is found more often in younger patients than in older patients. The oncogene involved in this translocation is AML1, which can be detected by Southern blot. Numerical abnormalities, particularly monosomy-7, trisomy-4, trisomy-8, trisomy-21, -Y, monosomy-7 and deletions of the long arms of chromosomes 5 and 7 are quite common in all acute myeloid leukaemia and not restricted to any one FAB classification. Many of these abnormalities are observed at diagnosis and at later stage disease, particularly after chemotherapy.

Prognosis is generally more favorable than in FAB-M2 patients showing no translocation, because the latter patients show better remission rates for longer periods of time. Immunophenotyping is useful in diagnosis and expression of one or more of the myeloid antigens CD13, CD14 or CD33 must be detected to make a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukaemia.

Acronym: AML

Incidence: 2,000 new cases per year in the UK.

Origin: Gr. Haima = blood

American spelling: acute myeloid leukemia

(07 Apr 1998)