Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL)

Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is a kind of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which is a type of blood cancer. APL is a leukemia that can cause a life-threatening bleeding problem called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

APL is a problem with how blood cells grow at a certain point of development (the promyelocyte stage). They grow in odd shapes and cannot do what normal blood cells do.

Symptoms of APL include weakness and fatigue, fever, poor appetite, easy bruising or bleeding, and weight loss.

People with APL need a special mix of cancer treatments that fight the cancer cell growth and control the risk of life-threatening bleeding.

This type of acute leukemia tends to have a better outcome than other types of AML.

Last Updated: November 26, 2008

Author: Bets Davis, MFA

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology

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