Bone Cancer Myeloproliferative Disorders Acml

Atypical chronic myelogenous leukemia (aCML) is a rare myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasm that develops when the bone marrow makes too many of a category of white blood cells called granulocytes. Some of these cells never become mature white blood cells (immature white blood cells are called blasts). The granulocytes and blast cells eventually crowd out the red blood cells and megakaryocytes (from which platelets are derived) in the bone marrow.

Atypical chronic myelogenous leukemia is one of the rare blood diseases that fall under the classification of leukemia.

Comparing Leukemias

Although aCML and the myeloproliferative blood disease chronic myelogenous leukemia (chronic myeloid leukemia) look the same under a microscope, the difference is that aCML does not have the chromosomal change, called the Philadelphia chromosome, that is present in chronic myeloid leukemia. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a different cancer, where the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of immature white blood cell), red blood cells or platelets.

Symptoms of Atypical Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

Possible symptoms of aCML include:

  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Feeling tired and weak
  • Pain or a feeling of fullness below the ribs on the left side, caused by an enlarged spleen, which 75 percent of people with aCML have (National Cancer Institute, 2010)
  • Pale skin
  • Petechiae (pinpoint-size spots on the skin caused by bleeding in the skin)
  • Shortness of breath.

Treatment of Atypical Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

Because aCML is so rare, the best treatment is unproven. The National Cancer Institute (2010) reports that the drug hydroxyurea may lead to a short partial remission for two to four months. However, hydroxyurea also has potentially serious side effects.

Treatment may also include chemotherapy or a stem cell transplant. Supportive care deals with the problems caused by the disease or its treatment and may include blood transfusion or drug therapy, such as antibiotics to fight infection.

According to the National Cancer Institute (2010), aCML develops into acute leukemia in about 25 to 40 percent of people and the median survival time for people with aCML is less than 20 months. People with a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) and serious low red blood cell count (anemia) tend to have the worst prognosis.

Resources

Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. (n.d.). Atypical chronic myelogenous leukemia. Retrieved October 19, 2010, from http://lombardi.georgetown.edu/patient/diseases/leukemia/myelodysplastic/other.html#acml.

Medline Plus. (2008). Hydroxyurea. Retrieved October 19, 2010, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682004.html.

National Cancer Institute. (2010). Atypical chronic myelogenous leukemia. Retrieved October 19, 2010, from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/mds-mpd/HealthProfessional/page4.

National Cancer Institute. (2009). General information about adult acute myeloid leukemia. Retrieved October 19, 2010, from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/adultAML/Patient.