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J Clin Oncol. 1999 Nov;17(11):3569-76.

Management of acute myeloid leukemia in elderly patients.

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  • 1Department of Medicine III, University Hospital Grobetahadern, Munich, Germany.


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) at older age is associated with several biologic and clinical characteristics. Hence, it may arise from an early level of hematopoietic stem cells and has a high frequency of blast cells with multidrug resistance glycoprotein MDR1 expression and particularly a high incidence of poor prognostic karyotypes. These factors, rather than age per se, underlie the poorer outcome as compared with younger cases. Prospective randomized studies clearly demonstrate, however, that elderly patients benefit from more intensive induction therapy and particularly from full-dose application of anthracyclines and possibly also cytarabine. Hematopoietic growth factors accelerate the recovery from treatment-induced neutropenia and may improve the remission rate, remission duration, and even overall survival. New treatment strategies need to be developed, however, for poor-prognosis AML subtypes in order to further improve the therapeutic perspectives for elderly patients with AML.

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