What is an Acute myeloid leukemia (generic term)?

March 07 22:28 2019 Print This Article

It is defined as a disorder in which there is a cancer of the myeloid line of blood cells. In this there is a rapid growth of the abnormal white blood cells which get accumulated in the bone marrow. It is also known as the AML. It refers to acute myelogenous leukemia. They interfere with the production of normal blood cells. It is the most common and acute form of leukemia. It affects adults and its incidence increases with the age. The AML is a rare disease which accounts for 1.2 percent of the deaths caused by cancer. Its incidence is going to increase with the age.

The symptoms of the disease are caused due to the replacement of bone marrow with the leukemic cells which decreases the red blood cells, platelets and normal white blood cells. It leads to fatigue, shortness of the breath, easy bruising and bleeding. There is also an increased chance of infection. There are many risk factors which can increase the AML but the exact cause is still not clear. It progresses rapidly and it may lead to the death of the individual within few months or weeks if not treated properly. It has different sub types and in which the treatments are different. Their prognosis varies and the five year survival rate varies from 15 to 70 percent.

The relapse rate varies from 33 to 78 percent. It is treated initially with the chemo therapy which induces a remission. The patient may also receive an additional chemo therapy which is also known as the hematopoietic stem cell transplant. There are many researches which have shown that the genetics of AML has developed tests that tell how long a patient is likely to survive and to determine whether the drug is effective or not.

What is the history of acute myeloid leukemia?

In the first published description of a case of leukemia in the medical literature dates back to the year 1827. The French physician described Alfred Armand Louis marie valpeau described the 63 year old florist who developed an illness which showed fever, weakness, urinary stones along with the enlargement of spleen and liver. He noted that the blood of the patient has gruel like consistency. The appearance of the blood was due to the white corpuscles. In the year 1845 there were many patients which died due to the enlarged spleen and changes in the color and consistencies of blood. It was reported by the Edinburg pathologist known as J H Bennett. He used the term leucocythemia to describe the pathological condition.

The term leukemia was coined by the German pathologist Rudolf Virchow in the year 1856. He was a pioneer in the field of light microscopy and he describes the excess of white blood cells seen in the patients with clinical syndrome described by the Velpeau and Bennett.

The cause of excess of white blood cells was not known by the Virchow and he used the descriptive term leukemia to refer to the condition. The development of the new technology leads to the further advancement in the understanding of acute myeloid leukemia. In the year 1877 Paul developed a technique with the help of blood staining films which help to know about the normal and abnormal white blood cells. There was an author W. Ebstein who described the acute leukemia. In the year 1889 it was differentiated into rapidly progressive and fatal form. The myeloid was coined by the Neumann in the year 1869. He came to conclusion that the white blood cells came from the bone marrow not in the spleen. A Mosler described the technique to examine the bone marrow so that leukemia can be diagnosed.

It was done in the year 1879. The malignant cell in the AML was known as the myeloblast in the year 1900. It was characterized by nageli who divided the leukemia into myeloid and lymphocytic. In the year 2008 this became the first cancer to be properly sequenced. The leukemic cell DNA was extracted from the unaffected skin. The leukemic cell contains acquired mutations in many genes which is not associated with the disease.

What is the epidemiology of acute myeloid leukemia?

It is relatively a rare cancer. In the US alone one can see around 10 thousand new cases per year. The incidence rate has been stable from the year 1995 to 2005. It accounts for 1.2 percent of all the deaths in the United States. Its incidence increases with the age. The median survival age at diagnosis is 63 years. The AML constitute 90 percent of the all acute leukemia and is rare in the children. The rate of therapy related AML is rising and it accounts for 10 to 20 percent of the cases of AML. It is more common in the men as compared o the women.

The male female ratio is 1.3 to 1. There are the geographic variations in the incidence of AML. In adults one can see the highest rate in North America, Europe and Oceania but in the case of adult AML it is rarer in the Asia and America. The childhood AML is not so common in the North America and India as compared to the other parts of Asia. The difference is due to the population genetics, environmental factors and a combination of above factors.

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