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The types of acute leukemia are categorized by which blood cells are affected (lymphoid versus myeloid). Based on the blood cells that are affected, there are two common types of acute leukemia: acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Acute lymphocytic leukemia accounts for about 3,800 new cases of leukemia each year. Although this type of acute leukemia is the most common type of leukemia in young children, it also affects adults.
Other names for acute lymphocytic leukemia include:
  • ALL
  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Acute lymphatic leukemia
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia
  • Acute lymphoid leukemia
  • Acute granulocytic leukemia.
(For more information about ALL, see the eMedTV article Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.)
Acute myeloid leukemia accounts for about 10,600 new cases of leukemia each year. It occurs in both adults and children.
Other names for acute myeloid leukemia include:
  • AML
  • Acute myelogenous leukemia
  • Acute myelocytic leukemia.

(For more information about AML, see Childhood AML and Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia.)


Causes of Acute Leukemia

No one knows the exact causes of acute leukemia. Doctors can seldom explain why one person will get acute leukemia and another person will not. However, leukemia research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop leukemia. A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chance of developing a disease.
(Click What Causes Acute Myeloid Leukemia? for more information on AML risk factors. For more information on risk factors for ALL, see the eMedTV article Cause of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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