Acute Myloid Leukaemia (AML)

Acute myelogenous leukemia involves a malignancy (cancer) of blood-forming tissues of the bone marrow characterized by the proliferation of immature white blood cells. There are 8 categories of AML, categorized as M0 to M7, based on which blood cells are abnormal. During AML, defective cells in the bone marrow multiply rapidly and replace healthy blood cells.

What is leukaemia?
Leukaemia is a cancer of the white blood cells which starts in the bone marrow, the body’s site for blood cell production. There are many types of leukaemia which are grouped accoding to the type of blood cell that is affected and by the rate of cell growth. There are two main categories of leukaemia:
• Acute or rapidly developing and,
• Chronic or slowly developing.
The acute leukaemia group includes:
• Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)
• Acute Lymphobasltic leukaemia (ALL) and,
• Acute Undifferentiated leukaemia.
The chronic leukaemia group includes:
• Myelodysplalastic syndromes including:
• Chronic Mylomonocytic leukaemia,
• Refractory Anemias;
• Chronic Lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL),
• Chronic Myelogenous leukaemia (CML), and,
• Myeloproliferative syndromes.
Acute leukaemias are characterised by an overgrowth of immature blood cells. This condition is life threatening because the young cells crowd out prevents the presence of mature blood cells that prevent infection, bleeding and anemia. How is it diagnosed? The patient undergoes a bone marrow aspirate so that fluid from the bone marrow can be tested. A leukaemia diagnosis is confirmed if leukaemia cells (called blast cells) reach more than 20% in the bone marrow.