Erythroleukemia is a subcategory of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) which is characterized by erythroblastic proliferation. Erythroblast is an immature nucleated cell that develops in the red marrow as a stage or stages of red blood cell production or erythrocyte.
In simple words, it is a neoplastic proliferation of blood-forming tissues or cells which resulted in the production of large numbers of immature, abnormal red blood cells are found in the blood and bone marrow.
It is a rare subtype of acute myeloid leukemia and constitutes only 3-5% of the total cases of acute myeloid leukemia. Reported annual incidence rate is 0.077 per 100,000 populations. Among the total reported cases, 64-70% is found in elderly males with a median age of 65 years.
Two main systems are used for subtyping AML. One of these is the classification of the French-American British (FAB) that was used earlier and was replaced by the current classification of the World Health Organization (WHO).
A modification of the FAB classification identified AML-M6 as the existence of greater than 50 percent erythroid cells with greater than 30% immature blast cells of non-erythroid series.
The WHO classification acknowledges the FAB criteria and the existence of cases of pure erythroleukemia where the only proliferation of immature erythroid cells occurred.
Certain risk factors include the history of exposure to ionizing radiation, chemotherapy drugs, and rare genetic chromosomal abnormalities. Acute erythroleukemia shows a poor prognosis.
Difficulties faced in treating acute erythroleukemia comprise primary induction failure, relapse, and chemotherapeutic agent toxicity. Prognosis depends upon the findings of cytogenetic evaluation, presence or absence of specific chromosomal abnormalities and having a multidrug-resistant phenotype.
Sign & Symptoms
Acute erythroleukemia mostly presents with non-specific signs and symptoms. These are due to reduced blood production, arising from leukemic cells replacing the bone marrow. This reduction leads to anemia (decreased oxygen-carrying capacity of RBCs), decreased platelets and white blood cells count. These are:
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
- Bone and joint pains
Diagnosis and Treatment:
Diagnosis can be made by correlating the clinical picture with the findings of blood profile, Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, Diagnostic radiology, and genetic abnormality studies. Treatment options include: chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation, and other biologic agents to stop the excessive proliferation and to correct the abnormalities in the way of normal erythropoietin.
What support can we give for Acute Erythroleukemia?
Acute Erythroleukemia is a rare cancer, meaning it is not as well known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organisation that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. We provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also provide annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from rare cancer such as Acute Erythroleukemia, we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
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