What Is Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)?

Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), also called granulocytic, myelocytic, myeloblastic, or myeloidleukemia, is a cancer of the blood in which too many granulocytes, a type of white blood cell, are produced in the bone marrow. In AML the bone marrow makes too many granulocytes, which normally fight infection. In addition to crowding out other important cells, these over-produced granulocytes  do not mature correctly. AML accounts for about three-quarters of all leukemias in adults.

Normally, bone marrow cells mature into several different types of blood cells. Acute myelogenous leukemia affects the young blood cells (called blasts) that develop into a type of white blood cell (called granulocytes). The main function of granulocytes is to destroy bacteria. The blasts, which do not mature and become too numerous, remain in the bone marrow and blood. Acute leukemia can occur over a short period of days to weeks. Chromosome abnormalities (extra chromosomes and structural changes in the chromosome material) are present in the majority of ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia) patients.

Although AML typically occurs in adults, it can also occur in children. Information about childhood AML can be found at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital which has excellent programs and doctors.

According to the American Cancer Society, of the 48,610 leukemia cases expected in 2013. AML will account for 14,590 of the acute cases in 2013.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.

Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.

Before beginning treatment, ask your doctor about any clinical trials you should consider. Learn more about clinical trials for cancer patients.

Clinical trial eligibility flowcharts

Eligibility flowcharts map clinical trials to specific types of cancers to determine if a participant is eligible for the particular clinical trial. View all hematology eligibility flowcharts at the Stanford Cancer Institute.

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