Acute myelogenous leukemia is caused by damage to the DNA of developing cells in your bone marrow. When this happens, blood cell production goes wrong. The bone marrow produces immature cells that develop into leukemic white blood cells called myeloblasts. These abnormal cells are unable to function properly, and they can build up and crowd out healthy cells.
In most cases, it's not clear what causes the DNA mutations that lead to leukemia. Radiation, exposure to certain chemicals and some chemotherapy drugs are known risk factors for acute myelogenous leukemia.
Sept. 12, 2015
- Niederhuber JE, et al., eds. Acute leukemias in adults. In: Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 18, 2015.
- Hoffman R, et al. Clinical manifestations and treatment of acute myelogenous leukemia. In: Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2013. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 18, 2015.
- Adult acute myeloid leukemia treatment (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/types/leukemia/patient/adult-aml-treatment-pdq. Accessed May 21, 2015.
- Leukemia — acute myeloid — AML. Cancer.Net. http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/leukemia-acute-myeloid-aml/view-all. Accessed May 21, 2015.
- Integrative medicine & complementary and alternative therapies as part of blood cancer care. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. http://www.lls.org/#/resourcecenter/freeeducationmaterials/treatment/integrativemedandcam. Accessed March 18, 2015.
- Cook AJ. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 18, 2015.