Acute Myeloid Leukemia—Child
(AML—Child; Acute Myelogenous Leukemia—Child; Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia—Child; Acute Granulocytic Leukemia—Child; Acute Nonlymphoblastic Leukemia—Child)
by Amy Scholten, MPH
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. With AML, the bone marrow makes abnormal blood cells including:
These abnormal cells crowd out the healthy cells. AML gets worse quickly. Without normal cells, anemia, bleeding problems, and infections easily develop.
Cancer happens when cells divide without control or order. These cells grow together to form a tumor. They can invade and damage nearby tissues. They can also spread to other parts of the body.
It is not clear what causes changes in the cells. It is likely a combination of genes and environment.
Things that may raise the risk of AML in children are:
AML may cause:
The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will check for swelling of the liver, spleen, and lymph nodes. The child may be referred to a cancer doctor.
Tests will be done to look for abnormal cells. They may include:
The doctor may do more tests to learn about the leukemia. These tests will help guide treatment. Tests may include:
AML is then classified into subtypes. This helps the doctor outline a treatment plan.
Treatment of AML is usually done in two phases:
Treatment may include:
There are no current guidelines to prevent AML.
American Cancer Society
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Canadian Cancer Society
Provincial Health Services Authority
Acute myeloid leukemia. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society website. Available at:
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Accessed March 23, 2021.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-myeloid-leukemia-aml . Accessed March 23, 2021.
Elgarten CW, Aplenc R. Pediatric acute myeloid leukemia: updates on biology, risk stratification, and therapy. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2020;32(1):57-66.
General information about childhood acute myeloid leukemia and other myeloid malignancies. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/leukemia/patient/child-aml-treatment-pdq. Accessed March 23, 2021.
Leukemia in children. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/leukemia-in-children.html. Accessed March 23, 2021.
Last reviewed January 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 3/23/2021