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Risk of leukemia after cancer chemotherapy persists
Date:2/14/2013

n 1975 and 2008 and who were treated with chemotherapy. SEER data files were reviewed to determine tAML risk based on first type of cancer, time since diagnosis, age at diagnosis, and year of diagnosis.

Among the 426,068 patients whose data were eligible for analysis, Dr. Morton's team confirmed 801cases of tAML, nearly five times more than the number of cases expected in the general population. To help explain the changes in relative risk over time, investigators compared the trends in the data with evolving treatment recommendations and major therapeutic discoveries as described in the medical literature. While patient information in the SEER database did not include data on specific drugs or doses, the incidence trends were consistent with changing treatment practices and the toxicities associated with certain chemotherapies. Notably, the proportion of patients receiving chemotherapy, both with or without radiotherapy, increased during the study period for many malignancies.

As the team compared tAML risks with trends in cancer treatment over time, they analyzed several factors that likely contributed to the differences in risk between patients, including the type of cancer initially diagnosed and the year of diagnosis. For example, trends in risk for breast cancer patients (which comprised roughly one-third of tAML cases in the study) correlated to changes in breast cancer treatment protocols over the last several decades, suggesting that the decrease in tAML risk observed among breast cancer survivors in the 1980s might be attributable to an increased use of cyclophosphamide-based chemotherapy, which is less likely to cause leukemia than earlier treatment options.

A similar decline in risk was observed among ovarian cancer patients, possibly linked to a shift in ovarian cancer chemotherapy treatment in the 1970s from melphalan, a type of chemotherapy that has been shown to trigger leukemia, to a less toxic platinum-based chemotherapy.
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Contact: Andrea Slesinski
aslesinski@hematology.org
American Society of Hematology
Source:Eurekalert

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