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Intensive Chemotherapy May Be Harmful to Most Older Patients With Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Date:7/28/2010

WASHINGTON, July 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The prognosis for nearly three-quarters of elderly patients on intensive chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is poor, with a median survival of less than six months, according to a study published online today in Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology. AML is the most common form of acute leukemia among adults and is a rapidly growing cancer of the bone marrow that requires immediate treatment. The average age at diagnosis is 67, and more than 12,000 people will be diagnosed with AML this year (according to the National Cancer Institute).

"Recent studies have suggested that intensive chemotherapy might benefit elderly patients with AML, but we found that not to be the case," said Hagop Kantarjian, MD, Chairman of the Leukemia Department at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and senior author of the study. "Patients who did not have any of the eight-week mortality predictors we identified in the study may benefit from the more intense treatment, but for the majority of AML patients of advanced age, lower-intensity treatments are a better, less risky option."

Symptoms of AML include fever, frequent infections, tiredness, pale skin, shortness of breath, easy bleeding or bruising, and pain in the bones or joints. Because the disease develops rapidly, doctors usually begin treatment immediately after diagnosis. Treatments for AML include chemotherapy or a tr
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SOURCE American Society of Hematology
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