Treatment overview

Treatment for AML aims to destroy the leukaemia cells and allow the bone marrow to work normally again. When there is no sign of the leukaemia and the bone marrow is working normally, this is called remission. For some people with AML, the remission lasts indefinitely and the person is said to be cured.

Chemotherapy is the main treatment for AML. New treatments are being developed and may be given on their own or with chemotherapy. These are often given as part of a clinical trial. In some situations intensive treatment and a stem cell transplant are used to improve the chances of curing the leukaemia.

People who have a subtype of AML called acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL or M3) are usually treated differently from those with other forms of AML. They are given a drug called ATRA (all trans-retinoic acid) alongside their chemotherapy.

Arsenic trioxide (ATO, Trisenox®) can also be given to people with APL at diagnosis, if it has come back after treatment, or when someone has not responded to their previous treatment.