Acute leukemia

Acute leukemia is characterized by a block in differentiation of immature, functionless cells that accumulate in the marrow and blood. The marrow can no longer produce enough normal red and white blood cells and platelets. Thus, acute leukemias are characterized by bone marrow failure and tissue invasion. There is a rapid clinical course, and immediate treatment is imperative. Untreated acute leukemia is fatal, with a median survival time of less than three months. With the available current treatments, most patients achieve a complete response, and many patients have a prolonged survival. The two types of acute leukemia are acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).

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