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Sangre (Barc). 1998 Feb;43(1):35-9.

[Acute myeloid leukemia in those over 70 years of age. Experience using low-dose ara-C treatment].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Servicio de Hematología, Hospital Juan Ramón Jiménez, Huelva.



The treatment of elderly patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) remains controversial. We present the results of the treatment of a group of patients aged above 70 years with AML diagnosed in our Hospital since 1990.


We have studied retrospectively the cases of AML in patients older than 70 years diagnosed in our Service since January 1990 to June 1996. Induction treatment was performed, in all cases but one, with two cycles of Ara-C 10 mg/m2/12 h s.c. for 21 days and after haematological recuperation, if complete remission had been achieved, monthly maintenance treatment with Ara-C (25 mg/m2/12 h oral x 5 days), prednisone (40 mg/m2/day x 5 days) y vincristine (1 mg/m2 i.v. x 1 day) was begun.


During the period of study 48 patients with AML have been diagnosed in our Service, among them 22 (45.8%) were older than 70 years. One of them could not be considered for the study as not all data from him could be compiled. Among the other 21 patients 5 presented previous haematological processes (4 myelodysplastic syndrome and 1 Waldenström's macroglobulinemia). Initial diagnosis according to FAB classification for AML was as follows: 7 M1, 6 M2, 4 M4, 2 M5 and 2 M6. From these 21 patients 2 received no treatment due to rapid progression and death, among the other 19, one was directly treated with a modification of the maintenance treatment with vincristine and prednisone without response (survival 2 months). The other 18 patients were treated with low-dose Ara-C (described above), among them 3 (16.7%) were not evaluable as they did not finish the first cycle of induction treatment; 8 (44.4%) showed no response; 2 (11.1%) achieved partial remission and 5 (27.8%) complete remission. One patient did not show any response after two cycles of low-dose Ara-C but she obtained complete remission when treated with Ara-C and idaurubicin. Overall mean survival was 5.7 months (median 2; 95% confidence interval 1.6-9.8 months). In the group of patients treated with low-dose Ara-C mean survival was 6.6 months (median 3.5; 95% confidence interval 1.9-11.2 months).


We consider that the treatment with low-dose Ara-C is a valid option in the treatment of elderly patients (aged 70 or above) with AML because 28% complete remissions can be achieved, specially in those ones in which other more aggressive treatments are not possible.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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