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Acute myeloid leukemia

Updated: October 27, 2005

Acute myeloid leukemia, or AML is the most commonly diagnosed type of adult leukemia, and accounts for about half the cases of childhood leukemia. It is specifically a malignancy of the myeloid line of white blood cells.


The incidence of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is 2.7 per 100,000 population.

Estimated new cases and deaths from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in the United States in 2005.

  • New cases: 11,960.
  • Deaths: 9,000.


Slightly higher in males than in females. There are two theories to explain slightly higher incidence in males: Occupational exposure to chemical carcinogens and the higher incidence of myelodysplastic syndrome in males (see causes).


AML affects all age groups. Age-specific incidences of AML are similar to those of other solid tumors in adults, with an exponential rise after age 40 years. The median age of onset is 65.

Race and ethnicity

The incidence of acute leukemia is slightly higher in populations of European descent (whites). Also, a report from the University of Southern California indicates that acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is more common in Hispanic populations than in other ethnic groups.


AML is more commonly diagnosed in developed countries.

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