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Acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) is a distinct subtype of AML which is characterised by the presence of many promyelocytes in peripheral blood and marrow aspirate.
APL accounts for approximately 5-15% of acute myeloid leukaemia (1).
The following are considered independent risk factors for the development of APL in a patient with AML:
The major cause of mortality is bleeding, particularly intracranial, which may be exacerbated by chemotherapy.
Although relatively rare, APL is important since it is the first cancer in which a specific treatment has been developed which targets the genetic defect responsible for tumorigenesis.