Symptoms and Signs of Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

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Medically Reviewed on 9/17/2021

Doctor's Notes on Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

Adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells, or platelets. There are different subtypes of AML and it is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults. Adult acute myeloid leukemia usually worsens quickly if it is not treated. It is also called:

Early symptoms of adult acute myeloid leukemia are often similar to those caused by the flu or other common illness and may include:

  • fever,
  • shortness of breath,
  • easy bruising or bleeding,
  • petechiae (flat, pinpoint reddish-purple spots under the skin caused by bleeding),
  • weakness or feeling tired, and 
  • weight loss or loss of appetite.

Other symptoms of AML include:

  • weakness,
  • infection,
  • pale skin (pallor), 
  • headache, and
  • low blood cell counts (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets).

What Is the Treatment for Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)?

The treatment of adult AML depends on the subtype and usually has two phases: the initial treatment phase, known as remission induction therapy, and the post-remission phase. Treatment options may include:

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.