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Leukemia. 2004 Apr;18(4):809-16.

Decision-making and quality of life in older adults with acute myeloid leukemia or advanced myelodysplastic syndrome.

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Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.


Older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and advanced myelodysplastic syndrome (aMDS) must decide between receiving intensive induction chemotherapy (IC) or nonintensive chemotherapy/best supportive care (NIC). Little information exists about what factors influence treatment decisions and what quality of life (QOL) is associated with treatment choices. We prospectively examined 43 patients 60 years or older who were interviewed at diagnosis and periodically over 1 year. IC choice was associated with younger age (66 vs 76 years, P=0.01) and AML diagnosis, but not with performance status, comorbidities, or QOL. In total, 63% of all patients reported not being offered other treatment options despite physician documentation of alternatives. Patient and physician estimates of cure differed significantly: 74% of patients estimated their chance of cure to be 50% or greater, yet for 89% of patients physician estimates of cure were 10% or less. IC patients experienced decreased QOL at 2 weeks, but rebounded to baseline and to NIC levels by 6 weeks. Initial QOL is not associated with treatment choice in older AML and aMDS patients. Regardless of treatment choice, patients report not being offered treatment options and overestimate their chances of cure. In IC patients, QOL decreases during hospitalization but rebounds after discharge.

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