Understanding Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

September 02, 2016

Because different types of leukemia cells behave differently, they require different types of treatment. Leukemia is considered to be either acute or chronic, depending on how fast the cells grow without therapy. And it's either lymphocytic or myeloid, depending on the type of white blood cell that has turned into leukemia. By looking at these factors, most cases of leukemia can be classified into 1 of 4 main types of leukemia. Acute myeloid leukemia is 1 of these types. It's a rapidly growing type.

Types of leukemia

Here are various types of leukemia. The first 4 are the most common:

  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)

  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)

  • Hairy cell leukemia

  • Plasma cell leukemia

  • Prolymphocytic leukemia

  • Leukemic phase of lymphoma

More about AML

AML is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts. They do not mature into healthy white blood cells. AML may also make abnormal early forms of red blood cells or cells that make platelets.

AML is the second most common form of leukemia in adults. Your risk for getting this type of leukemia increases as you get older. If you've had therapy for other types of cancer, you may develop AML as a late side effect. It is a very aggressive cancer if left untreated. But if treated with chemotherapy right away, doctors can cure some types of AML, especially in people who are younger.


March 30, 2020

Reviewed By:  

Alteri, Richard, M.D., Fincannon, Joy, RN, MN