AML Genetic Testing Explained

AML Genetic Testing Explained from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo

Acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, has many subtypes and understanding your individual disease is key to accessing personalized therapy. Learn about the role that genetic testing plays in guiding your AML treatment options in this explanatory video.

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Transcript:

Acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, is a complex cancer that begins in the bone marrow.

Not all AML patients have the same disease. AML has many subtypes and understanding YOUR individual disease and subtype is key to accessing personalized therapy.

How can you learn more about your AML?

Genetic tests can provide more detail about your specific AML

These tests use laboratory approaches to identify changes in chromosomes, genes or proteins. A gene mutation is an abnormal change in a gene’s DNA sequence.

The results of genetic tests can inform your prognosis and treatment options.

The types of genetic tests that physicians use for patients with AML include:

  • Cytogenetic Analysis (or Karyotyping)
  • Fluorescence in situ Hybridization also known as a FISH test
  • Molecular Testing, which includes:
    • Polymerase chain reaction – PCR for short
    • DNA sequencing;
    • and Next-generation sequencing

Your healthcare team can help decide which test is best for you.

Genetic test results are used to identify genetic mutations that determine your specific AML subtype and help your healthcare team to better understand your prognosis, treatment path and assess how well therapy is working.

Once you have your results, there a number of targeted therapies currently available for AML.

Targeted therapies block the growth of cancer by interfering with specific molecules involved in the progression and spread of cancer. 

Targeted therapies include a class of treatment called “Inhibitors.”   AML Inhibitor therapies that target a genetic mutation include FLT3 Inhibitors and IDH Inhibitors.

Novel inhibitor therapies that are used across all mutational subtypes of AML include BCL-2 inhibitors and hedgehog inhibitors

Research is moving quickly in this field as new treatments are being studied to target genetic mutations in AML and other diseases.

How can you take action?

First, make sure you seek the opinion of an AML specialist. Discuss which tests you should undergo and review the results with your doctor. Educate yourself by doing some of your own research on the findings then collaborate with your healthcare team to determine a personalized treatment plan for your AML.  Finally, follow-up with your doctor regularly to understand when you should be re-tested.

Want to learn more? Start here.