What happens if you do not do therapy/treatment? | Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)

What happens if you do not do therapy/treatment?

Like all acute leukemias, AML is characterized by a very aggressive course of the disease. Untreated, it leads to death within a few weeks. It is therefore extremely important that treatment is started immediately after a rapid diagnosis.

If a decision were now to be made against treatment, there would be a massive increase in leukaemia cells within a very short time. Healthy blood cells would be largely displaced. With the loss of healthy blood cells, there would eventually be numerous, all potentially fatal symptoms. These include multiorgan failure, blood poisoning, vascular occlusion and internal bleeding.

Life expectancy / prognosis / chances of recovery

Unfortunately, it is not possible to make generally valid statements regarding the chances of recovery. The prognosis varies and depends strongly on individual factors. For example, the following factors have a rather negative influence on the prognosis: Nevertheless, the presence of one or more of these “negative prognostic factors” does not automatically lead to a reduction in the chances of cure in AML.

Concrete statements can therefore only be made by the treating physician. Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that the chances of a cure for AML have greatly improved over the past decades. This is primarily due to the so-called “therapy optimisation studies”.

Thus, in Germany, almost all AML patients are treated within the scope of these clinical studies. This gives patients access to the latest scientific findings and modern drugs. At the same time, “therapy optimisation studies” do not mean that the drugs used are experimental or in the trial phase.

Instead, the aim is to find out the best possible application areas, dosages or combinations of approved and proven chemotherapeutic agents. Of course, participation in the studies is voluntary. In Germany, almost all hospitals participate in therapy optimisation studies in order to improve the prognosis of AML in the long term. – Age > 60 years

  • White blood cell count > 100,000 /microlitre at the start of therapy
  • Reduced response to therapy (“therapy refractory”)
  • Accumulated chromosomal alterations