Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a type of blood cancer where healthy blood cells get crowded out by too many immature white blood cells. It is a rare cancer, making up only around 1–2% of all cancers in the United States. The disease can occur in all ages, but the majority of the cases occur in the elderly, ages 60 years and older. Perhaps the one thing the general public first thinks about AML is that it is deadly. Indeed, AML is a dangerous disease due to its fast progression, low survival rate, and high recurrence. What most people may not know is that survival rate can vary significantly depending on the type of disease and various patient characteristics.

The five-year overall survival for AML patients is about 20–30%. This is very low compared with other cancers, such as testicular cancer (98%), melanoma (90%), breast cancer (87%), and even leukemia in general (52%). However, within the different types of AML, five-year survival can range from 70% for acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) to 5–15% for secondary AML. Other ways AML patients differ in survival is by age at diagnosis and having specific genetic mutations. A significant portion of AML therapeutic research is focused on finding new prognostic factors that can better predict survival and aid in the development of targeted drug therapies.

The figure below presents a few examples of the varying rates of survival among different AML patient groups. APL stands out as the AML subtype with the best chance of survival, whereas therapy-related AML is associated with the lowest survival rates. Data for the figure were obtained from the SEER database in the US, Haematological Cancer Research Network (HMRN) in the UK, and EUROCARE-5 Cancer Survival Database.

Five-Year Relative Survival Rates for Acute Myeloid Leukemia:

More information and analysis about AML can be found in the upcoming GlobalData report, Acute Myeloid Leukemia EpiCast Report, Epidemiological Forecast to 2026

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