Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is characterized by a rapidly-developing cancer in the myeloid line of blood cells, which is responsible for producing red blood cells, platelets and several types of white blood cells called granulocytes. Because AML grows rapidly, it can quickly crowd out normal blood cells, leading to anemia, susceptibility to infections and uncontrolled bleeding. Due to the aggressive nature of AML, this disease usually requires intensive treatment, which may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and stem cell transplantation.
The following are symptoms typical for AML:
• Fever with or without an infection
• Frequent bruising
• Night sweats
• Pain in the bones or joints
• Pain or feeling of fullness below the ribs
• Petechiae (flat, pinpoint spots under the skin caused by bleeding)
• Shortness of breath
• Weakness or feeling tired
Here, Guido Marcucci, M.D., co-director of the Gehr Family Center for Leukemia Research at City of Hope, discusses AML, its symptoms, diagnoses and treatments. Marcucci is also a professor of the Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation at City of Hope, and director of the Division of Hematopoietic Stem Cell and Leukemia Research.
“AML may be a prototype of cancer and how cancer develops and eventually persists after treatment,” he says.
For other interviews with City of Hope experts, go to our list of City of Hope podcasts.
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