Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Why does acute promyelocytic leukemia (M3) cause DIC?

Disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC) is caused by an inappropriate activation of the coagulation cascade

Activation of the coagulation cascade is triggered by the release of tissue factor (TF), a transmembrane glycoprotein. On release of TF, the coagulation cascade is initiated, causing an excess of thrombin to be released. With the unregulated release of thrombin, plasminogen is converted to plasmin, resulting in fibrinolysis. Fibrinolysis causes an excess of fibrin degradation products (FDPs), which initiates excessive bleeding, leading to a condition of simultaneous hemorrhages and clot formation.

In acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), TF is secreted directly into the bloodstream by the membranes of the promyelocyte blast cells, which initiates the coagulation cascade causing DIC.

That's all!

Here's the reference article.


Related post: French American British classification of Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia (AML types) mnemonic


  1. This is exactly the type of basic science underpinning of a clinical condition that I would expect to crop up on the new Step 3. Excellent.


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