Acute myeloid leukemia

Incidence in Minnesota:

AML is gradually increasing in MN

AML incidence rates in Minnesota have gradually increased with an annual percent change of 2.0% since 1988. As with national data, incidence rates are consistently higher in males than in females. Minnesota incidence rates have been similar to the national average in recent years. From 2016 to 2018, an average of 182 cases of AML in males and 149 cases of AML in females were diagnosed in Minnesota residents each year.


Acute myeloid leukemia cases in Minnesota

Age-adjusted rates of new AML cases.
Age-adjusted rates of new AML cases.

Most recently, the age-adjusted incidence rate of AML was 5.6 new cases per 100,000 males and 4.2 new cases per 100,000 females.

Acute myeloid leukemia cases in Minnesota, by age

Rate of new AML cases, aggregated from 2009 to 2018.
Rate of new AML cases, aggregated from 2009 to 2018.

The rate of AML is higher among males compared to females. Incidence rates of AML increase with age.

About acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is one type of leukemia. "Acute" means that this type can progress quickly. Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells (leukocytes). AML is a cancer of a certain type of white blood cell. There are about a dozen different types of AML. These distinctions are important for treatment decisions and prognoses.

What are the risk factors for AML?

  • Getting older: AML can occur at any age but becomes more common as people get older.
  • Being male: AML is more common in males than in females. The reason for this is not clear.
  • Benzene: a solvent used in the rubber industry, oil refineries, chemical plants, shoe manufacturing, and fuel industries. This chemical is an ingredient in gasoline and is present in cigarette smoke, some glues, cleaning products, detergents, art supplies, and paint strippers.
  • Smoking: tobacco smoke contains benzene as well as many other cancer-causing substances.
  • Certain chemotherapy drugs: drugs that fall under the categories of Alkylating agents and topoisomerase II inhibitors are linked to an increased risk of AML.
  • Radiation exposure: extremely high levels of radiation exposure can cause AML. It is difficult to know whether exposure to low doses of radiation, such as X-rays or CT scans has any effect on risk of AML. Radiation treatment for a previous cancer can also increase the risk of AML.
  • Specific blood disorders, genetic mutations, and congenital syndromes: certain blood disorders (like myelodysplastic syndrome), several genetic mutations present at birth (like Fanconi anemia) and chromosome problems (like Down syndrome) can increase risk of AML.

How can AML be prevented?

Few strategies exist for preventing AML. Individuals can limit occupational exposures to benzene, now a well-recognized hazard that is regulated in the workplace. Other prevention measures include not smoking and avoiding high-dose radiation. Very few people have significant radiation exposure in present times.


Last updated May 2021. Updates are made when data become available.