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Acute leukemia

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Leukemia that progresses rapidly is called acute leukemia.

Types

Acute leukemia may refer to-Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or Acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Acute myeloid leukemia

Also known as acute myelogenous leukemia, is a cancer of the myeloid line of white blood cells, characterized by the rapid proliferation of abnormal cells which accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal blood cells. AML is the most common acute leukemia affecting adults, and its incidence increases with age. Although AML is a relatively rare disease, accounting for approximately 1.2% of cancer deaths in the United States, its incidence is expected to increase as the population ages.

Symptoms of AML

The symptoms of AML are caused by replacement of normal bone marrow with leukemic cells, resulting in a drop in red blood cells, platelets, and normal white blood cells. These symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, easy bruising and bleeding, and increased risk of infection. Although several risk factors for AML have been identified, the specific cause of AML remains unclear. As an acute leukemia, AML progresses rapidly and is typically fatal within weeks or months if left untreated.

Prognosis

Acute myeloid leukemia is a potentially curable disease; but only a minority of patients are cured with current therapy. AML is treated initially with chemotherapy aimed at inducing a remission; some patients may go on to receive a hematopoietic stem cell transplant.

Areas of active research in acute myeloid leukemia include further elucidation of the cause of AML, identification of better prognostic indicators, development of new methods of detecting residual disease after treatment, and the development of new drugs and targeted therapies.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Acute leukemia may also refer to-Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)

A form of leukemia, or cancer of the white blood cells. Malignant, immature white blood cells continuously multiply and are overproduced in the bone marrow. ALL causes damage and death by crowding out normal cells in the bone marrow, and by spreading (metastasizing) to other organs. ALL is most common in childhood and young adulthood with a peak incidence at 4-5 years of age, and another peak in old age. The overall cure rate in children is 85%, and about 50% of adults have long-term disease-free survival. 'Acute' refers to the undifferentiated, immature state of the circulating lymphocytes ("blasts"), and to the rapid progression of disease, which can be fatal in weeks to months if left untreated.

 

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