Leukemia (AML)

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What is High-Risk AML?

Dr. George Yaghmour Keck School of Medicine - USC

What Does High-Risk Mean?

  • AML patients who are considered high-risk have a very low chance of going into and staying in remission after the normal course of chemotherapy
  • The risk of relapse is also greater with high-risk patients
  • Ongoing research is looking into improved ways to treat the high-risk patient population

When someone with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is categorized as high-risk that means that the chances of getting cancer into, and keeping it in, remission are very low with the normal course of chemotherapy, according to Dr. George Yaghmour, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. These patients may also be non-responsive to chemotherapy treatments.

“Risk of relapse is higher so the survival rate, without having the leukemia come back, is less than 30%,” Dr. Yaghmour says.

Still, Dr. Yaghmour points out that a lot of ongoing research is devoted to finding new and better methods to treat patients who are considered high-risk.

“We are working, as a leukemia group, doing the research and investigating what is the best approach for this high-risk patient population,” he says.

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Dr. George Yaghmour is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at USC's Keck School of Medicine. Read More

Diagnosing AML

There are several tests that need to be performed for a doctor to diagnose a patient with AML. After a diagnosis, the doctor will also identify the person’s “subgroup,” which helps determine the best course of treatment to take.

Treatment : Treatment Options

  • For people deemed healthy enough, induction therapy is the standard treatment for AML
  • The process involves a seven-day chemotherapy regiment, followed by several weeks of recovery
  • The goal with this high-dose of chemo is to induce remission
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Treatment : Targeted Therapies

  • There have been some incredible breakthroughs in AML treatment options in recent decades
  • A wave of new targeted therapies have been approved for the disease, and doctors hope these approvals will unlock new and improved treatment options for those living with AML

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