Classification of the Leukemias

Leukemia types are classified according to the type of white cell that is affected. The two main types of the disease are myeloid (also called granulocytic or myelogenous) and lymphatic (or lymphocytic). These two main types are derived from the two major cell lines: the mixed myeloid progenitor cell line, which produces the white blood cell monocytes or granulocytes; and the lymphoid cell line, which gives rise to the lymphocytes. These are further subdivided into acute (progressing rapidly) and chronic (progressing slowly). In the acute form, there is abnormal growth of immature or blast cells whereas in chronic leukemia, more mature cells proliferate, although abnormal immature cells may also be present. The following are the diseases that mainly arise:

1. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), also called acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myelocytic leukemia, acute myeloblasts leukemia, and acute granulocytic leukemia, is synonymous with the group known as acute nonlymphocytic leukemia (ANLL), which includes some of the rartr subtypes of the disease (e.g., monocytic leukemia). AML involves the neutrophils (one of the granulocytes) that stem from the myeloid progenitor cell line.

2. Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), also called chronic myelogenous leukemia, chronic myelocytic leukemia, and chronic granulocytic leukemia (CGL), produces excessive numbers of granulocytes that accumulate in the bone marrow and blood stream.

3. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), also known as acute lymphocytic leukemia and acute lymphatic leukemia, arises as a result of abnormal immature lymphocytes, which proliferate in the bone marrow and the bloodstream and affect the lymphocytes (the B cells and T cells) stemming from the lymphoid cell line.

4. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), also known as chronic lymphatic leukemia and chronic lymphogenous leukemia, produces an abnormal increase in lymphocytes that lack their infection-fighting ability. It is the major type of a group of diseases known as lymphoproliferative disorders, which includes such rarer forms of leukemia as hairy cell leukemia and adult T cell leukemia.

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