Benzene-induced acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is considered a secondary form of AML, based both in theory and on limited cohort observations. Its latency, cytogenetic aberrations, and clinical features are thought similar to, or identical with, AML resulting from the use of modern day cytotoxic agents for chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Although distinction between secondary AML and the far more common de novo AML is difficult to establish with certainty in any given case, latency from toxic therapeutic and environmental exposure and certain clinical and pathological features generally separate these two entities. AML is the only human neoplasm proven to be potentially caused by benzene, which actually is an obsolete form of chemotherapy. Despite many years of environmental regulation, alleged toxic exposure to this ubiquitous chemical has become an expanding area of litigation. A review of benzene-induced AML suggests that, in developed countries, this entity should no longer merit serious consideration among workers in the modern petrochemical industry and related fields.
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