Acute leukemia is the most common childhood malignancy, accounting for almost 35% of all childhood cancers. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) represents 15–20% of pediatric acute leukemia. Majority of AML cases appear de novo, however a minority of cases can present as a secondary malignancy. AML is a highly heterogeneous disease and its diagnosis involves a combination of diagnostic analyses including morphology, immunophenotyping, cytochemistry, and leukemic blasts derived from peripheral blood or bone marrow demonstrating cytogenic and molecular characteristics. Through the identification of recurrent genetic mutations, it has been made possible to refine individual prognosis and guide therapeutic management. The current survival rate of children with AML is approximately 70%. The standard therapeutic regimen is a combination of cytarabine- and anthracycline-based regimens with allogenic stem cell transplantation in appropriate patients. Relapse in pediatric patients suffering from AML occurs in approximately 30% of cases, whereas death occurs in 5–10% of patients as a result of disease complications or chemotherapeutic side effects. In understanding the genetic basis of AML, targeted therapies will have the ability to reduce treatment-related morbidity and mortality. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of AML, its biology, diagnosis and therapeutic management in pediatric patients.
Part of the book: Myeloid Leukemia