The leucemia acuta promielocitica, better known as fulminant leukemia, is a subtype of acute myeloid leukemia and is the more aggressive form of blood cancer. This pathology, which in Italy affects about 150 people a year specially between 30 and 40 years, can lead to death within hours or days if not diagnosed in time. This is why a correct and timely diagnosis can make a real difference, thanks also to the new treatments developed to combat it.
Fulminant leukemia, cause
At the basis of fulminant leukemia there is an acquired translocation, or a unusual change in the shape of chromosomes, with the movement of a piece from one chromosome to another. This alteration, not present at birth, occurs between chromosomes 15 and 17 and results in the reduction in the number of platelets and the alteration of the mechanisms of coagulation Still today, however, the mechanism at the origin of the modification occurred at the level of the two chromosomes is not known.
What are the symptoms of fulminant leukemia
I symptoms of fulminant leukemia they arise and progress rapidly. This pathology manifests itself with skin bleeding, visible in the form of unexplained dark bruises, bleeding from both nostrils, gums, digestive or genitourinary tract. They may also be present non-specific disorders, such as fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, excessive sweating, but also an increased risk of infections, which can result in sore throat and swollen lymph nodes, headaches and other neurological signs.
How to diagnose this pathology
If diagnosed in time, fulminant leukemia can be treated effectively but, in order to arrive at a correct diagnosis, it is necessary to perform a morphological examination of the bone marrow and peripheral blood. To get a more complete picture of the situation, we always tend to look for the typical cytogenetic and molecular anomalies, fundamental characteristics of this disease. Since there is one at the origin of the disease chromosomal translocation, international guidelines also recommend carrying out genetic diagnosis, which consists in identifying, through cytogenetics and molecular biology techniques, the alteration of chromosomes 15 and 17.