Annals of hematology

Therapeutic decision-making in elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia: conventional intensive chemotherapy versus hypomethylating agent therapy.

PMID 28828639


Standards of care for elderly acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients unfit for intensive chemotherapy remain undefined. We aimed to compare outcomes of hypomethylating agent (HMA) therapy and intensive chemotherapy (IC) in elderly AML patients and identify the subgroup of patients who are eligible for HMA therapy. We reviewed data on the outcomes of 86 AML patients aged ≥ 65 years, who had undergone treatment between 2010 and 2015. These treatments included IC (25 patients, 29.1%) or therapy using HMA including azacitidine or decitabine (61 patients, 70.9%). The overall response rates were 32 and 19.7%, respectively. Median overall survival (OS) (8 vs. 8 months) and progression-free survival (PFS) (6 vs. 7 months) durations were similar in the two groups. Patients in the HMA group with less than 10% peripheral blood (PB) blasts achieved significantly better OS duration than patients in the IC group (P = 0.043). Patients in the IC group with PB blasts and bone marrow blast of ≥ 10 and ≥ 50%, respectively, achieved better PFS durations than the corresponding patients in the HMA group (P = 0.038). Multivariate analysis identified the hematologic improvement-platelet (HI-P) as an independent prognostic factor for survival in the HMA group (P = 0.005). Our results showed that HMA therapy and IC were associated with similar survival duration in elderly AML patients. This study was noteworthy because it assessed prognostic factors that would help to select elderly patients who could expect actual benefits from undergoing the different therapeutic options available, especially HMA therapy.

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