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What Tests Can Determine an AML Patient’s Subtype?

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Published on January 8, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • Ask your doctor about testing for chromosome and mutational abnormalities to determine subtype.
  • Genetic abnormalities have indications about prognosis and potentially treatment.  
  • APL or acute promyelocytic leukemia is different from all the other sub-types of AML.

What type of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) do you have? How do doctors test for patient subtypes? During this Ask the Expert segment, Dr. Gail Roboz, from Weill Cornell Medicine, explains what prognostic information cytogenetic testing can reveal and how results may influence the course of treatment. Watch now to learn from an acute leukemia expert.

This program is sponsored by AbbVie, Inc., Genentech, Inc. and Adaptive Biotechnologies. These organizations have no editorial control. It is produced by Patient Power. Patient Power is solely responsible for program content.

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Transcript | What Tests Can Determine an AML Patient’s Subtype?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Carol Preston:               

Ann has a question about AML subtype and she would like to know what testing would she and others need to determine the AML subtype. As you mentioned, those three letters can stand for many different things.

Dr. Roboz:              

That is a great question and a perfect one to open with because what type of AML do you have. So, patients get immediately confused by going into the literature and looking at something called FAB or French American British subtyping and the often will come in and say, “Do I have M2? Do I have M4?”

 

This is kind of old news. This is based on what the cells look like under the microscope. And although interesting, it’s not really what we mean by when we say subtype currently. What you want to be asking your doctor about is cytogenetics for chromosomes and molecular genetics. And molecular genetics refer to mutations that may or may not be present as part of your disease. So, it’s very important to know what chromosome abnormalities and what mutational abnormalities you have because together that information puts together not only information about prognosis but also potentially information about treatment that may or may not be specific to a subtype that you have.

Also, APL or acute promyelocytic leukemia is different from all the other subtypes of AML. Different treatment, different disease. So, one of the first questions that you want to know is do I have APL or do I have regular if you will AML. And then within that, you want to ask for chromosomes and mutations and they are not the same.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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