masthead abstract

AML Disease: AML Survival Rates

Cancer is a disease with many different variations. At its core definition, cancer causes some of the body’s cells to grow at an uncontrollable rate.  Most cancers can metastasize or spread to other parts of the body. 

AML is no different.  AML is a form of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. The cancer cells in AML are referred to as myeoblasts.  These immature blood cells never fully develop into white blood cells as a result of the disase.  Because AML is inherent to the bloodstream, the disease can quickly spread throughout the body and affect the lymph nodes, brain, liver, and spinal fluid.  

Types of Cancer

Since so many types of cancer exist, they are often named after the body system or body part that is affected by the cancer.  Treatment for the cancer will, of course, depend on the type of cancer being treated, as well as the extent of the disease.  Chemotherapy is a common treatment option for all types of cancer, including AML.  

Hematologic Cancer

All Leukemias are classified as a hematologic cancer because they are cancers of the blood cells that start in the bone marrow.  These blood cancers result in uncontrolled growth of the blood cells, resulting in abnormally formed white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.  These abnormal blood cells can then adversely affect other body systems. 

Since white blood cells help the body fight off infections, AML can also easily lead to other infections.  Neutropenia is a condition common in AML patients that results from a shortage of infection-fighting white blood cells.  These normal blood cells are important to keeping other illnesses at bay and sometimes can be restored through a stem cell transplant to replace diseased blood cells with healthy ones or another acute myeloid leukemia treatment.

Since red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body, a shortage of red blood cells can often result in tiredness, weakness, headaches or shortness of breath.  These are often the early signs of AML. that lead to a diagnosis.

Solid Tumor Cancer

Tumors that develop in the body organs or tissues are solid tumor cancers. These cancers develop from uncontrolled cell growth as well.  Some tumors are benign, these are not cancerous.  Others are malignant, and are cancer.

Is Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Common?

According to the American Cancer Society, there were 20,050 new cases of AML in the United States in 20221.  There were also 11,540 deaths from AML.  Based on SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) data from 2017-2019, approximately 0.5 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia blood cancer at some point during their lifetime.

Of the four types of leukemia in adults, acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) occur most frequently.  AML is rare overall, accounting for only about 1% of all cancers.  The incidence of AML increases with age and is almost 10 times greater among persons 65 years and older than among those younger than 65 years.  The diagnosis of AML is uncommon before the age of 45.  AML is not a common form of childhood leukemia.

The common symptoms of AML: weakness, fever, frequent infections, and bleeding can be attributed to many other diseases as well.  

AML is also sometimes called by other names: acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia or acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.

Common risk factors for AML include:

Is adult acute myeloid leukemia curable?

The prognosis for a patient diagnosed with AML depends on many factors.  A patient’s age and general health, the stage of AML, and other medical conditions can all factor into the long term prognosis for AML.  For many people, it is possible to achieve remission with treatment.  Treatment options for AML include chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant / stem cell transplant, targeted drug therapy and clinical trials for investigational drugs and medicine.  

Both the AML disease and some forms of AML treatments can cause side effects and ongoing research is focused on reducing these side effects while increasing the effectiveness of treatment.

AML Survival Rate

Ongoing scientific research and AML clinical trials are advancing the survival rate of acute myeloid leukemia with new and promising myeloid leukemia treatment options.  While most historical sources cite the five year survival rate for adults with AML at 29.5%, a recent SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) study that used data from 2012 to 2018, cited a 5 year survival rate of 30.5%2.

Age is an important factor in looking at remission rates for adult acute myeloid leukemia, with an inverse relationship between the age of diagnosis and remission.  For adults under the age of 60, the expected remission rate is 65% with treatment.

5 Year Survival Rate for Acute Myeloid Leukemia by Age3

Age5-year survival rate
Children under the age of 14, diagnosed with AML65 to 70 percent
Ages 15 to 34, diagnosed with AML52 percent
Ages 35 to 54, diagnosed with AML37 percent
Ages 55 to 64, diagnosed with AML20 percent
Ages 65 to 74, diagnosed with AML9 percent

What factors influence survival rate?

The outlook and prognosis for acute myeloid leukemia varies widely. The most important factors that affect survival rate are:

In addition, how well a person responds to the AML treatment will affect the long term survival rate for each patient.  Typical treatments for AML may include chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant to help the body return to the production of normal, healthy blood cells with no abnormalities.  

A doctor may perform the following tests to help in the diagnosis and prognosis of AML:

Some people with a poor AML prognosis live many more years than a doctor predicts.

Iomab-B, Investigational Drug for AML

Currently, Sierra Trial is evaluating the use of 131I apamistamab (Iomab-B) as a targeted treatment for AML, consisting of a monoclonal antibody that is connected to radioactive material (making it a radiolabeled antibody). 131I apamistamab (Iomab-B) delivers radiation treatment preferentially to your bone marrow cells and spleen, where most leukemia cells are, when compared to other organs such as liver, lungs, kidneys and mucous membranes that can be harmed by too much radiation.  Our hope is that these trials will produce another viable treatment option for AML.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Resources Used:

  1. American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts and Figures 2022. American Cancer Society, 2022. Available online Last accessed September 20, 2022.
  2. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program: Cancer Stat Facts: Leukemia — Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Bethesda, Md: National Cancer Institute, DCCPS, Surveillance Research Program, 2020. Available online. Last accessed Sept 20, 2022.
  3. Impact of age and induction therapy on outcome of 180 adult patients with acute myeloid leukemia; retrospective analysis and literature review. Leukemia Research Reports, 2020. Available online. Last accessed Sept 20, 2022.