Symptoms and Signs of Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 10/8/2021

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

Childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. AML is also called acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia, and acute nonlymphocytic leukemia. Acute cancers worsen quickly if not treated. 

Symptoms of childhood AML may include:

  • fever with or without an infection, 
  • night sweats,
  • shortness of breath,
  • weakness or tiredness,
  • easy bruising or bleeding,
  • petechiae (flat, pinpoint spots under the skin caused by bleeding),
  • joint or bone pain,
  • pain or feeling of fullness below the ribs,
  • painless lumps that may be blue or purple (in the neck, underarm, stomach, groin, or other parts of the body),
  • painless lumps that are around the eyes that may be blue-green, and
  • an eczema-like skin rash.

These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by childhood AML, childhood chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML), or myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) or by other conditions.

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

Treatment for childhood AML may involve:

  • Chemotherapy, which is typically given in two phases known as induction and consolidation.
  • Targeted therapy may be added to the chemotherapy regimen for certain individuals.
  • For some children, a stem cell transplant is considered after remission is achieved by chemotherapy.
  • Supportive care, including medications to manage pain and infections, is an important part of treatment.

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