Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the bone marrow and the blood. It’s a fast-growing type of leukemia and is the most common type of acute leukemia affecting adults.
In AML, abnormal white blood cells build up in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal blood cells.
Without treatment, AML progresses rapidly. However, for some patients, AML is curable.
UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center offers treatments for patients with AML that they can’t get anywhere else in the region. Our physicians have the highest levels of expertise in diagnosing the disease and identifying the most effective and promising treatment plan.
We perform intense laboratory studies to help us better understand leukemia and develop therapeutic clinical trials that target molecular weaknesses and harness the immune system. One current trial is the Beat AML initiative.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Symptoms of AML include fatigue, easy bruising and bleeding, shortness of breath, and weight loss. Sometimes, no symptoms are present.
If AML is suspected based on a physical exam and symptoms, we’ll order additional tests that include:
- Blood and molecular analysis, which assess the numbers, types, and shapes of blood cells, as well as other characteristics that could indicate leukemia
- Bone marrow biopsy to detect leukemia cells in the bone marrow
An accurate diagnosis is critical to developing an effective treatment plan. At UT Southwestern, we work with specialized pathologists called hematopathologists who are uniquely trained to identify and classify blood cancers.
Risk factors for developing AML include diagnosis of another type of blood disorder, exposure to chemicals or ionizing radiation, and genetics.