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Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 11, Issue 1, Pages 49-65
Original Article

A Hypothetical-Mathematical Model of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia Pathogenesis

1Department of Hematology, Cancer Institute, 73, 21 Decembrie Bvd, Cluj, Romania
2Department of Applied Mathematics, Babeş-Bolyai University, 400084, Cluj, Romania

Received 4 February 2009; Accepted 16 April 2009

Copyright © 2010 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Acute myeloid leukaemia is defined by the expansion of a mutated haematopoietic stem cell clone, with the inhibition of surrounding normal clones. Haematopoiesis can be seen as an evolutionary tree, starting with one cell that undergoes several divisions during the expansion phase, afterwards losing functional cells during the aging-related contraction phase. During divisions, offspring cells acquire ‘variations’, which can be either normal or abnormal. If an abnormal variation is present in more than 25% of the final cells, a monoclonal, leukemic pattern occurs. Such a pattern develops if: (A1) The abnormal variation occurs early, during the first or second divisions; (A2) The variation confers exceptional proliferative capacity; (B) A sizable proportion of the normal clones are destroyed and a previously non-significant abnormal clone gains relative dominance over a depleted environment; (C) The abnormal variation confers relative ‘immortality’, rendering it significant during the contraction phase. Combinations of these pathways further enhance the leukemic risk of the system. A simple mathematical model is used in order to characterize normal and leukemic states and to explain the above cellular processes generating monoclonal leukemic patterns.