Monday, July 25, 2011 (Last Updated: 07/26/2011)
MONDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- Azacitidine may be an effective treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in elderly patients, especially those who have not undergone any previous treatments and those with a white blood cell (WBC) count of <10 × 109/L, according to a study published online July 14 in Cancer.
Luca Maurillo, M.D., from the Tor Vergata Foundation Polyclinic in Rome, and colleagues investigated the effect of azacitidine on AML in 82 patients (median age, 72 years), 27 of whom had secondary AML. Of the 62 patients with identifiable cytogenetics, 18 had a poor-risk karyotype and 44 had an intermediate karyotype. Azacitidine was administered as a front-line treatment in 35 patients; 47 patients had previously received chemotherapy.
The investigators found an overall response rate in 26 of 82 patients (32 percent), which included 12 complete remissions (CRs), four CRs with incomplete blood count recovery (CRi), and 10 partial responses. Previously untreated patients showed more frequent responses compared to pretreated patients, with 17 of the 35 untreated patients responding (48 percent), of whom 11 were CR/CRi. Only nine of the 47 pretreated patients responded (19 percent), of whom five were classified as CR/CRi. A significantly higher response rate was found for untreated patients and those with white blood cell (WBC) counts of <10 × 109/L. The median overall response period for untreated patients was 13 months, with one-year and two-year survival rates of 58 and 24 percent, respectively.
"Elderly patients with previously untreated AML and with WBC counts <10 × 109/L may represent the best candidates to receive azacitidine with good chances of achieving a response and prolonging survival," the authors write.
Hematology & Oncology
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