New Screening Test May Help Predict AML Risk Years Before Disease Onset

New research has identified the origins of acute myeloid leukemia, which can be detectable more than 5 years before the disease develops.

The incidence of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) increases as people age, but the disease can often appear suddenly in patients, without any detectable early symptoms. However, new research has identified the origins of AML, which can be detectable more than 5 years before the disease develops.

The results, published in Nature

, found that blood tests can reveal the roots of AML in healthy patients by looking for changes in DNA code.

“We have been able to identify people in the general population who have traces of mutations in their blood that represent the first steps in how normal blood cells begin on a pathway of becoming increasingly abnormal and puts them at risk of progressing to AML,” co-principal investigator John Dick, PhD, FRS, senior scientist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, said in a statement.

“We can find these traces up to 10 years before AML actually develops. This long-time window gives us the first opportunity to think about how to prevent AML.”

The researchers used data from a large European population health and lifestyle study that tracked 550,000 people over 20 years. The team used data from more than 100 participants who developed AML 6 to 10 years after joining the study, plus data from an age-matched cohort of more than 400 people who did not develop AML.

Click to continue reading on The American Journal of Managed Care.