What is acute myeloid leukemia?
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. An acute leukemia can become worse quickly if it is not treated and can result in death within months. AML is the most common type of acute leukemia in American adults and the average age of a patient with AML is 67. In 2010, 12,330 people were estimated to have been diagnosed with AML in the United States, with an estimated 8,950 deaths.1 Survival decreases with older ages because standard treatments for AML are less tolerated. View additional information on adult acute myeloid leukemia.
What have The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) researchers learned about acute myeloid leukemia?TCGA researchers have:
- Observed relatively few mutations per AML patient
- An average of 13 mutated genes per tumor were found, as opposed to breast, lung or pancreatic cancer, which often have hundreds
- Identified recurrently mutated genes and grouped them into nine categories, based on the gene's function or pathway involvement. Some of which are:
- Transcription factor genes, which are involved in gene regulation and were observed to often aberrantly fuse together during cell division
- NPM1 genes, commonly involved in AML chromosomal abnormalities
- Myeloid transcription factors, important for blood cell development
- Cohesin complex genes, which are key in mitosis
- Signaling genes, crucial for controlling cell growth and proliferation
- Integrated previously fragmented genomic information, providing a comprehensive picture of the cancer
Where can I find more information about the TCGA Research Network’s studies or studies using TCGA data?
Where can I find clinical trials to treat AML that are supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI)?
View a list of NCI-supported acute myeloid leukemia clinical trials that are now accepting.
1American Cancer Society. (2010) Cancer Facts and Figures 2010. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society.