acute myeloid leukaemia

Last reviewed 01/2018

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a heterogeneous clonal disorder characterised by the arrest of differentiation of the progenitor cells (“blasts”) coupled with an accumulation of immature progenitors in the bone marrow, resulting in hematopoietic failure (1).

  • AML is generally a disease of older adults - median age at diagnosis between 65 and 70 year of age
  • after age 5-10, every year of age worsens the prognosis for patients with AML
  • AML in older individuals is a more recalcitrant disease
    • the disease tends to be less proliferative with average bone marrow blast counts of 20% in those older than 60 and 40% in those younger than 60. When compared with those younger than 56, those older than 56 are less likely to have favorable cytogenetics (16% vs. 5%) and more likely to have unfavorable cytogenetics (33% vs. 50%)