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Clinical aspects of acute myeloid leukemias of the FAB types M3 and M4Eo


Acute promyelocytic leukemia (AML FAB M3, APL) and acute myelomonocytic leukemia with abnormal eosinophils (AML M4Eo) are considered distinct entities with characteristic clinical, morphological, cytogenetic, and prognostic features. Promyelocytic leukemia is characterized by abnormal promyelocytes replacing normal hematopoiesis associated with a translocation between the long arms of chromosomes 15 and 17 t (15; 17), severe coagulopathy, and responsiveness to all-trans retinoic acid (tretinoin). Characteristic features of AML M4Eo are a myelomonocytic marrow infiltration, eosinophils with abnormal immature granules positive for chloroacetate esterase, an inversion or translocation of chromosome 16, and an increased risk of meningeal relapses. Prognosis of both types of AML has been reported to be better than prognosis of the other entities combined. Since most of the published data were collected from heterogeneous patient populations treated with various chemotherapeutic regimens, we have analyzed treatment outcome of AML M3 and M4Eo in the AMLCG-85 study for patients younger than 60 years. For the total population of 594 patients of this study, CR rate was 68.89%, early death rate 11.60%, and no or partial remission was achieved in 19.51% of the cases. Of 40 patients with AML M3 or M3v complete remission was attained in 62.5%. Nine patients died within 42 days after the start of antileukemic therapy (22.5%). Of these nine, four died because of infection, five because of bleeding. Relapse-free survival rate was 59% after 3 years, significantly better than the respective curve of the other FAB types combined (35% after 3 years). In AML M4Eo, 91.7% of the 24 patients reached complete remission. The early death rate was 8.3%. No case of nonresponse was seen. Relapse-free survival rate was 49% after 3 years compared with 35% for the other types combined.

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Correspondence to T. Haferlach.

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Haferlach, T., Gassmann, W., Löffler, H. et al. Clinical aspects of acute myeloid leukemias of the FAB types M3 and M4Eo. Ann Hematol 66, 165–170 (1993).

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Key words

  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Acute promyelocytic leukemia
  • Acute myelomonocytic leukemia
  • t (15, 17)
  • inv(16)