Several epidemiological studies have revealed a number of risk factors that can predispose AML. Following is the list of such risk factors:
- Exposure to radiation: History of radiation exposure is one of the most important risk factors for the development of AML.
- Individuals who have been treated with certain chemotherapeutic drugs such as alkylating agents, platinum drugs, or topoisomerase II inhibitors are at higher risk of developing AML later, typically about 8 years after chemotherapy.
- Industrial/Occupational exposure: Regular exposure to carcinogens like benzene and petroleum products has been indicated to increase the risk of AML.
- Certain hematological disorders such as polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia, and idiopathic myelofibrosis increase the risk of developing AML. The risk is even higher in case of MDS that can progress to AML.
- Genetic alterations: Some inherited genetic alterations have been reported to be associated with a high incidence rate of AML, for example (e.g.), Fanconi anemia, Ataxia-telangiectasia, Bloom syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Schwachman-Diamond syndrome, Kostmann syndrome, and Neurofibromatosis type 1.
- Family History: Individual with a history of AML in close relatives are considered to be at increased risk of developing AML. The risk is particularly very high in individuals who have an identical twin who got AML at a younger age.
- Tobacco/Cigarette Smoking: Cigarette smoking exposes the body to various carcinogenic chemicals, which increases the risk of developing AML.
- Age and gender: AML is more common among old age individuals and males.
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