Leukaemia is cancer of the white blood cells which are responsible for fighting infection. In leukaemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal levels of white blood cells. Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) starts in the bone marrow but often quickly spreads into the bloodstream. AML sometimes spreads to other parts of the body such as the lymph nodes, liver, central nervous system and testicles.
Commonly, AML develops from cells other than lymphocytes that would normally develop into white blood cells. The World Health Organization (WHO) divides AML into several subtypes based off genetic association. AML is also known as acute myelocytic leukaemia, acute myelogenous leukaemia, acute granulocytic leukaemia, and acute non-lymphocytic leukaemia.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer that develops in the bone marrow, the spongy tissue found in the centre of most bones. Multiple myeloma is characterised by abnormalities in plasma cells, a type of white blood cell. In myeloma, these abnormal cells multiply uncontrollably, increasing from about one percent of cells in the bone marrow to the majority of bone marrow cells. The abnormal cells form tumours within the bone, causing bone pain and an increased risk of fractures.
Relapsed refers to when a patient had active treatment that their disease responded to, went off treatment and then the disease came back. Refractory is a disease that is progressing despite active treatment.