AML is a clonal neoplasm arising from developing blood cells affecting all haemopoietic cell lines, most commonly granulocyte or monocyte precursors but also occasionally involving immature erythroblasts or megakaryocytes. Apart from primary, de novo disease for which no cause can be identified, some cases of AML are due to chemotherapy given for other diseases (secondary AML), and some arise in children with predisposing syndromes where the risk is greatly increased and where specific subtypes of AML may develop.

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