Myeloid leukemia (myeloid leukemia): symptoms and treatment

Myeloid leukemia or myeloid leukemia is a dangerous oncological disease of the hematopoiesis system, in which the stem cells of the bone marrow are affected. In people, leukemia is often referred to as «belokorvie.» As a consequence, they completely stop performing their functions and begin to multiply rapidly.

Thrombocytes, leukocytes and erythrocytes are produced in the human bone marrow. If a patient is diagnosed with myeloid leukemia, the pathologically changed immature cells, which in medicine are called blasts, begin to ripen and quickly reproduce in the blood. They completely block the growth of normal and healthy blood cells. After a certain period of time, the growth of the bone marrow completely stops and these pathological cells through the blood vessels get to all organs.

In the initial stage of myeloid leukemia, there is a significant increase in the number of mature leukocytes in the blood (up to 20,000 in μg). Gradually, their level increases two or more times, and reaches 400,000 in μg. Also, with this disease there is an increase in the blood level of basophils, which indicates a severe course of myeloid leukemia.

The etiology of acute and chronic myelogenous leukemia has not been fully understood to date. But scientists from all over the world are working to solve this problem, so that later there was an opportunity to prevent the development of pathology.

Possible causes of acute and chronic myelogenous leukemia:

  • a pathological change in the structure of the stem cell, which begins to mutate and continue to create the same. In medicine, they are called pathological clones. Gradually, these cells begin to enter organs and systems. Removing them with cytotoxic drugs is not possible;
  • exposure to harmful chemicals
  • the effect on the human body of ionizing radiation. In some clinical situations, myeloid leukemia can develop as a consequence of previous radiation therapy for the treatment of another cancer (an effective technique for treating tumors);
  • long-term use of cytostatic antitumor drugs, as well as some chemotherapeutic agents (usually during the treatment of tumor-like diseases). These drugs include Leukeran, Cyclophosphamide, Sarkozolite and others
  • negative effects of aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Down’s Syndrome
  • some viral diseases.

The etiology of acute and chronic myelogenous leukemia continues to be studied to this day.

Risk Factors

  • the effect on the human body of radiation;
  • the patient’s age
  • Gender.


Myeloid leukemia in medicine is divided into two varieties:

  • chronic myelogenous leukemia (the most common form)
  • acute myelogenous leukemia

Acute myeloid leukemia

Acute myeloid leukemia is a blood disease in which uncontrolled proliferation of leukocytes occurs. Complete cells are replaced with leukemic cells. Pathology is fast and without adequate treatment a person can die in a few months. The lifespan of the patient directly depends on the stage at which the pathological process will be detected. Therefore, it is important, in the presence of the first symptoms of myeloid leukemia, to consult a qualified specialist who will perform the diagnosis (the most informative is a blood test), confirm or deny the diagnosis. Acute myeloid leukemia affects people from different age groups, but most often it affects people older than 40 years.

Symptoms of acute form

Symptoms of the disease, as a rule, manifest themselves almost immediately. In very rare clinical situations, the patient’s condition worsens gradually.

  • nasal bleeding;
  • hematomas that form around the entire surface of the body (one of the most important symptoms for the diagnosis of pathology)
  • hyperplastic gingivitis
  • night sweats;
  • ossalgii
  • dyspnea appears even with minor physical exertion
  • a person often develops infectious diseases;
  • the skin is pale, which indicates a violation of hematopoiesis (this symptom is one of the first)
  • the patient’s body weight is gradually decreasing;
  • Petechial rashes are localized on the skin
  • increase in temperature to a subfebrile level

If you have one or more of these symptoms, it is recommended that you visit the health facility as soon as possible. It is important to remember that the prognosis of the disease, as well as the life expectancy of the patient, in whom it was revealed, largely depends on the timely diagnosis and treatment.

Chronic myeloid leukemia

Chronic myeloid leukemia is a malignant disease affecting only the hematopoietic stem cells. Gene mutations occur in immature myeloid cells, which in turn produce erythrocytes, platelets and virtually all types of white blood cells. As a result, an abnormal gene called BCR-ABL is formed in the body, which is extremely dangerous. He «attacks» healthy blood cells and converts them into leukemic cells. The place of their localization is the bone marrow. From there, with blood flow, they spread throughout the body and hit vital organs. Chronic myelogenous leukemia does not develop rapidly, it is characterized by a long and steady flow. But the main danger is that without proper treatment can develop into acute myeloid leukemia, which in a few months can kill a person.

Disease in most clinical situations affects people from different age groups. In children, it occurs sporadically (cases of incidence are very rare).

Chronic myeloid leukemia proceeds in several stages:

  • Chronic. Leukocytosis is gradually increasing (it can be detected using a blood test). Along with it, the level of granulocytes, platelets increases. Splenomegaly also develops. Initially, the ailment can be asymptomatic. Later, the patient has a fast fatigue, sweating, a feeling of heaviness under the left rib, provoked by an increase in the spleen. As a rule, a patient turns to a specialist only after he has shortness of breath during insignificant exertion, gravity in the epigastrium after ingestion. If at this time to conduct an X-ray examination, then the picture will clearly show that the dome of the diaphragm is raised, the left lung is pushed aside and partially squeezed, and the stomach is also clamped because of the huge size of the spleen. The most terrible complication of this condition is a spleen infarction. Symptoms — pains left under the rib, irradiating in the back, fever, general intoxication of the body. At this time, the spleen is very painful on palpation. The viscosity of the blood rises, which causes a veno-inclusive liver injury;
  • Acceleration stage. At this stage, chronic myeloid leukemia is almost not manifested, or its symptoms are expressed to a small extent. The patient’s condition is stable, sometimes there is an increase in body temperature. The person quickly gets tired. The level of leukocytes is increasing, metamyelocytes and myelocytes are also increasing. If you perform a thorough blood test, then it reveals blast cells and promyelocytes, which should not normally be present. Up to 30% increase in the level of basophils. As soon as this happens, patients begin to complain of the appearance of skin itching, a feeling of heat. All this is due to an increase in the amount of histamine. After the additional tests (the results of which are placed in the medical history to observe the trend), the dose of chemotherapy increases. A drug that is used to treat myeloid leukemia
  • terminal stage. This stage of the disease begins with articular pain, severe weakness and fever to high digits (39-40 degrees). The weight of the patient is reduced. A characteristic symptom for this stage is a spleen infarction due to its excessive increase. The person is in very serious condition. He develops hemorrhagic syndrome and blast crisis. More than 50% of people at this stage are diagnosed with bone marrow fibrosis. Additional symptoms: an increase in peripheral lymph nodes, thrombocytopenia (revealed by a blood test), normochromic anemia, CNS (paresis, nerve infiltration). The lifespan of a patient depends entirely on supporting drug therapy.


  • Complete blood count. With it, you can determine the level of all blood cells. In patients suffering from acute or chronic myelogenous leukemia, the level of immature white cells in the blood rises. Later a decrease in the number of erythrocytes and platelets is recorded;
  • Biochemical blood test. With its help, doctors have the opportunity to detect abnormalities in the functioning of the liver and spleen, which were provoked by the ingress of leukemia cells into them
  • bone marrow biopsy and aspiration The most informative technique. Most often, these two tests are carried out simultaneously. Samples of the bone marrow are taken from the femur (posterior part of it);
  • cytogenetic analysis. Using it, chromosomes are examined. Leukemia cells in this disease contain an abnormal chromosome. Her name in medicine is «Philadelphia». Its appearance is the same as the 22 chromosomes, only it is slightly truncated;
  • Hybridization. Also a method for studying chromosomes in order to detect abnormal;
  • polymerase chain reaction. The most sensitive test that is aimed at detecting the pathological BCR-ABL gene (characteristic of the disease).

Additional techniques:

  • CT;
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound.


When choosing a particular method of treatment for a given disease, it is necessary to take into account the stage of its development. If the disease is detected at an early stage, the patient is usually prescribed fortifying drugs and a balanced diet rich in vitamins.

The main and most effective way of treatment is drug therapy. For treatment, cytostatics are used whose action is directed at stopping the growth of tumor cells. Radiation therapy, bone marrow transplantation and blood transfusion are also actively used.

Most of the treatments for this disease cause rather serious side effects:

  • inflammation of the gastrointestinal mucosa
  • persistent nausea and vomiting
  • hair loss.

The following chemotherapeutic drugs are used to treat the disease and prolong the life of the patient:

  • «Myelobromol»
  • Allopurin
  • «Myelosan.»

The choice of medication directly depends on the stage of the disease, as well as on the individual characteristics of the patient. All drugs are prescribed strictly by the doctor in charge! Independently adjust the dose is strictly prohibited!

Only bone marrow transplantation can lead to complete recovery. But in this case, the patient’s and donor’s stem cells must be 100% identical.