Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common acute leukemia in adults. The diagnosis is established by the presence of 20% or more blasts of myeloid origin in the bone marrow or peripheral blood.
Figure 1: Annual number of AML cases in the UK, stratified by age group.
AML is primarily a disease that affects people of advanced age: the median age at diagnosis is around 65 years.
Figure 2: Distribution of AML sub-types according to age group.
Most patients are diagnosed with de novo AML, i.e. without a clinical history of any myeloproliferative disease or leukemogenic therapy. AML with an antecedent hematological disease (AHD) and therapy-related AML (t-AML) are less frequently (<25%) seen at diagnosis.
Figure 3: Percentage of patients with high-risk cytogenetic profile in different AML subgroups.
Adverse prognostic cytogenetic anomalies are especially present in advanced disease or in patients with antecedent hematological disease (AHD-AML) or therapy-related AML (tAML).
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