Introduction on Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Executive Summary

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a disorder that generally produces neutrophils, red blood cells, or platelets, which are types of healthy blood cells. It begins in the bone marrow (the soft inner part of bones, where new blood cells are formed), but it often quickly moves into the blood. AML cells sometimes form a solid mass or tumor called a chloroma. Both children and adults can develop leukemia. The chances of survival in AML are low compared to the other cancer survivors.

What is Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia?

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood. It starts when healthy blood cells change and divide out of control, growing in cells that overwhelm the body. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a type of leukemia that is a cancer of the blood-forming tissue in the bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside the bones ​1​. AML may also be called acute nonlymphocytic leukemia or acute myelogenous leukemia.

About bone marrow and blood cells

Bone marrow is the red, spongy tissue present in the inner part of the large bones where the blood cells of a person are formed. Healthy immature blood cells are known as blasts. Blasts mature into one of these three different types of blood cells-

  • Red blood cells carry oxygen and other nutrients throughout the body
  • White blood cells fight infection in the body
  • Platelets help in the clotting of blood

About AML

In AML, the bone marrow forms many abnormal cancerous cells known as blasts or myeloblasts because they resemble healthy immature blast cells ​2​. Cancerous cells divide rapidly and grow out of control instead of becoming healthy mature blood cells. The cancerous cells cannot mature, work like healthy blast cells, and die quickly.

Eventually, these myeloblasts take up the space of the bone marrow, preventing healthy cells from being made and building up in the bloodstream. They can also move to the lymph nodes, brain, kidneys, ovaries, testicles, skin, liver, and other organs.


  1. 1.
    Saultz J, Garzon R. Acute Myeloid Leukemia: A Concise Review. JCM. Published online March 5, 2016:33. doi:10.3390/jcm5030033
  2. 2.
    M. Nix, PharmD, BCPS, BCOP N, Price, MPAS, PA-C A. Acute Myeloid Leukemia: An Ever-Changing Disease. JADPRO. Published online December 1, 2019. doi:10.6004/jadpro.2019.10.8.12