When do I suspect the diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia?

Published on May 31, 2017 in Diagnosis

Keith W. Pratz, MD
Assistant Professor of Oncology
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland

Welcome to Managing AML, I am Dr. Keith Pratz. I am frequently asked, “When should I suspect the diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia?” You should consider a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia when you see patients who have a white blood cell count differential that includes circulating immature cells or blasts. Anyone who has those circulating blasts should be evaluated for acute myeloid leukemia. Other patients include those with cytopenias after prior chemotherapy or radiation therapy. When anyone over the age of 60 presents with cytopenias, you should be suspicious of a myeloid problem in the bone marrow. Then, in younger patients who present out of the blue with bruising, bleeding or atypical infections but who are otherwise healthy, those patients should be closely examined with a complete blood count. In anyone who has abnormalities in those blood counts, a bone marrow test would be important to identify why they are presenting with those abnormalities. Thank you for reviewing this activity.

Last modified: May 26, 2017