Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Stages of Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Once adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
The extent or spread of cancer is usually described as stages. In adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the subtype of AML and whether the leukemia has spread outside the blood and bone marrow are used instead of the stage to plan treatment. The following tests and procedures may be used to determine if the leukemia has spread:
- Lumbar puncture: A procedure used to collect cerebrospinal fluid from the spinal column. This is done by placing a needle into the spinal column. This procedure is also called an LP or spinal tap.
Lumbar puncture. A patient lies in a curled position on a table. After a small area on the lower back is numbed, a spinal needle (a long, thin needle) is inserted into the lower part of the spinal column to remove cerebrospinal fluid (CSF, shown in blue). The fluid may be sent to a laboratory for testing.
- CT scan (CAT scan): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of the abdomen, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
There is no standard staging system for adult AML.
The disease is described as untreated, in remission, or recurrent.
Untreated adult AML
In untreated adult AML, the disease is newly diagnosed. It has not been treated except to relieve signs and symptoms such as fever, bleeding, or pain, and the following are true:
- The complete blood count is abnormal.
- At least 20% of the cells in the bone marrow are blasts (leukemia cells).
- There are signs or symptoms of leukemia.
Adult AML in remission
In adult AML in remission, the disease has been treated and the following are true:
- The complete blood count is normal.
- Less than 5% of the cells in the bone marrow are blasts (leukemia cells).
- There are no signs or symptoms of leukemia in the brain and spinal cord or elsewhere in the body.
Recurrent Adult AML
Recurrent AML is cancer that has recurred (come back) after it has been treated. The AML may come back in the blood or bone marrow.