Recurrent acute myelogenous leukemia, or AML, is characterized by cancer that recurs or becomes unresponsive to treatment, according to the National Cancer Institute. The cancer may return in the bone marrow or may have spread to other tissues. Individuals with recurrent AML experience symptoms that include pain, nausea, infections and loss of appetite.
No standard staging system exists for adult AML, informs the National Cancer Institute. Instead, the disease is described as untreated, in remission or recurrent. Untreated adult AML refers to newly diagnosed cases
that have not been treated. Adult AML in remission refers to cases that have been treated and no longer show signs or symptoms of leukemia in the body. The end stage of the cancer occurs during recurrent AML.
There is no typical treatment regimen for individuals with recurrent adult AML, notes the National Cancer Institute. AML that persists after the first treatment may require a change in drug treatment or a more intensive dose, adds the American Cancer Society. Similarly, individuals whose AML was in remission for longer than 12 months have a higher chance of putting the leukemia into remission again with increased treatment. Additional chemotherapy is not commonly curative for recurrent AML.
Therapy for recurrent AML that is unresponsive to continued treatment then shifts to palliative care, explains the American Cancer Society. These measures support quality of life and include opioid medicines, antibiotics and high-calorie food supplements.