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Leukemia

Types of Leukemia

Leukemia can be classified into four major types based on whether the disease is acute or chronic and according to the type of white blood cell affected:

  • Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

Myelogenous leukemia involves myeloid cells, granulocytes (neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils) and monocytes (macrophages). Lymphocytic leukemia involves T and B cells (lymphocytes).

Leukemia cases in USA

In the US, leukemia occurs more frequently in males than females (Call TG et al 1994; Cartwright RA et al 2002; McNeil DE et al 2002). In addition, Caucasians are more likely to develop leukemia than African-Americans and Hispanics (McNeil DE et al 2002; Xie Y et al 2003)

Table 1

Type of Leukemia

Number of New
Cases/Year

Average Age at Diagnosis
(years)

AML

10,000

65

CLL

7,800

Over 50

CML

4,500

67

ALL

4,000

Under 10

With the exception of ALL, leukemia is generally associated with aging. Furthermore, the behavior of leukemia in older individuals differs from that seen in younger people. For example, AML occurring in older individuals is more resistant to chemotherapy than AML in younger patients (Schoch C et al 2001).