Early Detection of Myeloid Sarcoma

Early detection of myeloid sarcoma dramatically increases the chance of surviving the disease. The condition is caused by immature white blood cells that have been compressed to form a solid tumor. The presence of the tumor may suggest that a person has an acute myeloid leukemia. The solid tumors are often found outside the bone marrow.

Myeloid Sarcoma

The condition was first discovered by British doctor A. Burns. He comprehensively described the condition in 1811 and in 1853 scientists used the term chloroma to refer to the condition for the first time. The term is derived from the Greek word chloros which translates to green in English. They used that term because of the green tint which often characterizes the condition. In some instances however, the condition can be white, gray, or brown rather than green.

The condition can occur on virtually any organ in the body. However the gum and the skin are the common organs that are affected by the condition. On the skin, the condition manifests as hard plagues or nodules. When the nodules are examined in the lab, the presence of myeloblasts (immature white blood cells) will confirm the condition. Chloroma can also appear on the lymph nodes, small intestines, the uterus, the epidural sites, the mediastinum, the orbit of the eye and other organs.

Because the condition is associated with acute myeloid leukemia, patients should be on the lookout for the symptoms so that there will be early detection of myeloid sarcoma. Any hardened lesion which turns green, gray, brown or white should be taken immediately to the hospital. Diagnosis is done by carrying out biopsy of the lesion. Though this is the most common diagnosis of chloroma, some studies suggest that misdiagnosis is pretty high with the method. One study said up to 47 percent of chloroma diagnosis using biopsy of the lesion turns out to be wrong.

Diagnosis has been improved with advances in immunohistochemical. Monoclonal antibodies are used against myeloperoxidase, CD68, CD43, and CD20 to positively identify the condition. This technique greatly improves the accuracy of the diagnosis and differentiates chloroma from lymphoma. Proper diagnosis is as vital as early detection of myeloid sarcoma.


Treatment can start as soon as the condition is positively diagnosed. Chloroma is not a disease of its own in a sense. It is often the manifestation of acute myeloid leukemia so treatment should not be isolated. It is not every acute myeloid leukemia patient that gets the condition though. In fact the condition is so rare that not every leukemia physicist have seen it.

The first line of treatment for chloroma is systemic chemotherapy against leukemia. There are other options if the first line of treatment fails to clear the condition. Surgery and radiation therapy are secondary treatments that are used to treat the condition.

The early detection of myeloid sarcoma helps to reduce the complications often associated with the condition. It is important to speak to your doctor if you are suffering from acute myeloid leukemia and see any of the symptoms mentioned above. Because of the availability of treatment, the condition should not be allowed to stay until it is too late.