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Stages of Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Other Myeloid Malignancies

Key Points

  • Once childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
  • There is no standard staging system for childhood AML, childhood chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML), or myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

Once childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

The following tests and procedures may be used to determine if the leukemia has spread:

  • Lumbar puncture: A procedure used to collect a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the spinal column. This is done by placing a needle between two bones in the spine and into the CSF around the spinal cord and removing a sample of the fluid. The sample of CSF is checked under a microscope for signs that leukemia cells have spread to the brain and spinal cord. This procedure is also called an LP or spinal tap.
  • Biopsy of the testicles, ovaries, or skin: The removal of cells or tissues from the testicles, ovaries, or skin so they can be viewed under a microscope to check for signs of cancer. This is done only if something unusual about the testicles, ovaries, or skin is found during the physical exam.

There is no standard staging system for childhood AML, childhood chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML), or myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

The extent or spread of cancer is usually described as stages. Instead of stages, treatment of childhood AML, childhood CML, JMML, and MDS is based on one or more of the following:

Newly diagnosed childhood AML

Newly diagnosed childhood AML has not been treated except to relieve signs and symptoms such as fever, bleeding, or pain, and one of the following is true:

  • More than 20% of the cells in the bone marrow are blasts (leukemia cells).

    or

  • Less than 20% of the cells in the bone marrow are blasts and there is a specific change in the chromosome.

Childhood AML in remission

In childhood AML in remission, the disease has been treated and the following are true:

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