Relapse occurs when AML returns after a patient has reached complete remission. Relapse can occur at any time after initial treatment, from several months to years, and can happen for a number of reasons, including the following:
Disease relapse can be spotted during regular check-ups, which are important for early detection. If your AML comes back, your leukemia specialist can outline the possible next steps for you in terms of treatment, coping strategies, and quality of life. Read more about the treatment options available for patients who experience relapse here.
AML can also be treatment-refractory, meaning that it does not respond fully to anti-leukemia therapy, and complete remission is not achieved. Refractory AML is diagnosed when abnormal leukemia cells are still observed in the blood or bone marrow after two cycles of chemotherapy, which is detected using a blood test or bone marrow biopsy. You can find out more about refractory AML in the Know AML animation below.
Leukaemia Care. Relapse in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) https://media.leukaemiacare.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Relapse-in-Acute-Lymphoblastic-Leukaemia-ALL-Web-Version.pdf. Published Jan 2019. Accessed Mar 31, 2021.