- Acute promyelocytic leukemia
Name = Acute promyelocytic leukemia
ICD10 = ICD10|C|92|4|c|81
ICD9 = ICD9|205.0
ICDO = ICDO|9866|3
OMIM = 102578
eMedicineSubj = med
eMedicineTopic = 34
MeshID = D015473
Acute promyelocytic leukemia is a subtype of
acute myelogenous leukemia(AML), a cancerof the bloodand bone marrow. It is also known as acute progranulocytic leukemia; APL; AML with t(15;17)(q22;q12), PML-RARA and variants; FAB subtype M3cite web |url=http://www.ucsfhealth.org/adult/medical_services/cancer/leukemia/conditions/aml/signs.html |title=Acute Myeloid Leukemia - Signs and Symptoms |format= |work=] and M3 variant.
In APL, there is an abnormal accumulation of immature
granulocytescalled promyelocytes. The disease is characterized by a chromosomal translocationinvolving the retinoic acid receptoralpha ("RARα" or "RARA") gene and is unique from other forms of AML in its responsiveness to all "trans" retinoic acid (ATRA) therapy.
igns and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of acute promyelocytic leukemia are similar to other forms of AML. Symptoms include
fever, fatigue, weight lossor loss of appetite, shortness of breath with exertion, anemia, easy bruising or bleeding, petechiae(flat, pin-head sized spots under the skin caused by bleeding), bone pain and joint pain and persistent or frequent infections.
The accumulation of promyelocytes in the bone marrow results in a reduction in the production of normal
red blood cells and platelets resulting in anemiaand thrombocytopenia. Either leukopenia(low white cell count) or leukocytosis(high white cell count) may be observed in the peripheral blood. Symptoms include:
*Fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath (from anemia)
*Easy bruising and bleeding (from thrombocytopenia and
*Fever and infection (from lack of normal white blood cells)
In addition, acute promyelocytic leukemia is frequently associated with bleeding caused by
disseminated intravascular coagulation(DIC).
Acute promyelocytic leukemia represents 5-8% of AML in adults. The median age is approximately 40 years, which is considerably younger than the other subtypes of AML (70 years). The incidence is increased in patients originated in Latin American countries.(Douer "et al.")
Acute promyelocytic leukemia is characterized by chromosomal translocation involving the retinoic acid receptor-alpha gene on chromosome 17 ("RARα"). In 95% of cases of APL, retinoic acid receptor-alpha ("RARα") gene on
chromosome 17is involved in a reciprocal translocation with the promyelocytic leukemia gene ("PML") on chromosome 15, a translocation denoted as t(15;17)(q22;q12).
Four other gene rearrangements have been described in APL fusing "RARα" to
promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger("PLZF"), nucleophosmin("NPM"), nuclear matrix associated("NUMA"), or signal transducer and activator of transcription 5b("STAT5B") genes.
The resultant fusion proteins disrupt the function of RARα which blocks the normal maturation of granulocytes. Although the chromosomal translocation involving "RARα" is believed to be the initiating event, additional mutations are required for the development of leukemia.
Acute promyelocytic leukemia can be distinguished from other types of AML based on morphologic examination of a
bone marrow biopsyor aspirate. Definitive diagnosis requires testing for the "RARα" fusion gene. This may be done by polymerase chain reaction(PCR), fluorescent in situ hybridization(FISH), or conventional cytogeneticsof peripheral blood or bone marrow.
Monitoring for relapse using PCR tests for "RARα" allows early re-treatment which is successful in many instances.
APL is unique among the leukemias distinguished by its sensitivity to all-"trans" retinoic acid (ATRA), a derivative of
vitamin A. Treatment with ATRA causes differentiation of the immature leukemic promyelocytes into mature granulocytes. ATRA is typically combined with anthracyclinebased chemotherapy resulting in a clinical remission in approximately 90% of patients.
ATRA therapy is associated with the unique side effect of
retinoic acid syndrome. This is associated with the development of dyspnea, fever, weight gain, peripheral edema and is treated with dexamethasone. The etiology of retinoic acid syndrome has been attributed to capillary leak syndrome from cytokine release from the differentiating promyelocytes. ATRAand allogeneic stem cell transplant.
Remission with use of
arsenic trioxidehas been reported.cite journal |author=Soignet SL, Maslak P, Wang ZG, "et al" |title=Complete remission after treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia with arsenic trioxide |journal=N. Engl. J. Med. |volume=339 |issue=19 |pages=1341–8 |year=1998 |month=November |pmid=9801394 |doi= 10.1056/NEJM199811053391901|url=http://content.nejm.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=short&pmid=9801394&promo=ONFLNS19]
* Kumar, Vinay, Abul Abbas, and Nelson Fausto. "Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease", 7th ed. (2004). ISBN 81-8147-528-3
* Sacher, Ronald A. and Richard A. McPherson. "Wildman's Clinical Interpretation of Laboratory Tests", 11th ed. (2000). ISBN 0-8036-0270-7
* ACUTE MYELOID LEUKEMIA IN ADULTS [http://www.cancer.org/downloads/PUB/DOCS/SECTION36/124.pdf]
* [http://www.med-ed.virginia.edu/courses/path/innes/wcd/myeloid1.cfm Histology] at
University of Virginia
* [http://pathy.med.nagoya-u.ac.jp/atlas/doc/node36.html#SECTION00414000000000000000 Images] at
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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