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Curr Hematol Rep. 2004 Jul;3(4):235-41.

Stem cell transplantation in acute myelogenous leukemia in first remission: what are the options?

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Division of Oncology/Section of BMT and Leukemia, Sireman Cancer Center, Washington University School of Medicine, Campus Box 8056, 660 South Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Most newly diagnosed patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in first remission will relapse without additional consolidation therapy. The options for consolidation therapy include repeated cycles of high-dose cytosine arabinoside-based chemotherapy and autologous or allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT). Chemotherapy alone is associated with the highest risk of relapse, but it has the lowest treatment-related mortality (TRM). Allogeneic SCT has the lowest risk of relapse with the highest TRM, whereas autologous SCT has an intermediate risk of relapse and TRM. Cytogenetic status of patients with AML is the single most important prognostic factor. However, it is increasingly recognized that this factor alone is inadequate for risk stratification. Based on cytogenetic stratification, a good-risk group of patients in first complete remission (CR1) would benefit most from high-dose consolidation chemotherapy. The risks of a SCT outweigh the benefit in this group. In the unfavorable-risk group, an allogeneic sibling SCT in CR1 would be acceptable, whereas the outcomes with chemotherapy alone or with an autologous SCT are dismal. Based on minimal data, a matched-unrelated donor SCT for this group of patients should be recommended. In the intermediate-risk group, strategies are evolving and the use of additional prognosticators will help in decision making. Autologous or allogeneic sibling SCT is a reasonable option in a subset of patients within this group at a high risk of relapse. There are insufficient data to recommend a haploidentical or cord blood transplant for patients with AML in CR1.

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