A seasonal peak in leukemia hints at viral intervention

New knowledge paves the way for prevention

Advances in blood cancer treatment in recent years are building on surprising knowledge that may open avenues for prevention.

Most diagnoses of acute myeloid leukemia are made in the month of January,

show data from 26,472 cases identified over 10 years in Spain. The majority were men (56%), and the average age at diagnosis was 67 years.

The finding suggests that seasonal factors such as infectious pathogens or environmental triggers influence the development or spread of the disease.

This conclusion of a new international study, centered on Spanish and British scientists, was published in the popular medical journal Medscape.

Blood malignancies are more than 140 varieties, grouped into three main types – leukemias, lymphomas and myelomas. Every minute two people in the world hear such a diagnosis.

Acute myelogenous leukemia is the most common leukemia in adults. It is characterized by an overproduction of white blood cells in the bone marrow, which disrupts normal blood production. It is characterized by extremely rapid and severe development.

Activating environmental factors can theoretically be

radiation, allergens or infectious

agents such as viruses We lean towards viruses because there are already various solid tumors and hematological cancers that are caused by them. And because during the winter months there is an increased incidence of cancer due to viral infections. Blood cancer specialist Dr. Juan Manuel Alonso, one of the lead authors, explains this to the Spanish publication.

According to him, the mechanisms that trigger the disease must be different from those triggered by chronic viral pressure, because acute myeloid leukemia is

an aggressive disease that probably needs a short incubation period and is responsible for many deaths

The new study’s findings are broadly similar to those of a large US study that found a peak in diagnoses in adults in December and January from 1992 to 2008. Previous smaller studies have provided conflicting data.

Acute myeloid leukemia manifests itself under many varieties and

various factors, including genetics, may be involved

in her birth. Scientists are now increasingly arguing for a catalytic role on the part of viruses.

In other hematological malignancies, an infectious role is also suspected – for example, Epstein-Barr and Helicobacter pylori involvement in some lymphomas.


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