What is acute myeloid leukemia (AML)?
Acute myeloid leukemia, also known as acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia, but more commonly as AML, is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults.
Under normal conditions, a person’s bone marrow produces cells called myeloblasts that, after maturation, become granulocytes, which are the cells responsible for defending the body against infections. However, in patients with Acute myeloid leukemia, the myeloblasts proliferate abnormally, progressively invading the bone marrow and interfering with the normal production of blood cells.
Occasionally, acute myeloid leukemia is but the final stage of other diseases such as myelodysplastic syndromes or chronic myeloproliferative syndromes. The incidence of AML is very high among patients with certain chromosomal alterations such as Down syndrome or Fanconi Anemia.
AML may appear years after receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy for the treatment of types of cancer. In these cases, the AML is considered secondary. It is an adult disease, although it can sometimes be observed in children.