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J Clin Oncol. 2007 May 10;25(14):1908-15.

Acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes in older patients.

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Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


The median age of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is 65 to 70 years. The majority of older patients with AML probably do not receive specific treatment, and those who receive standard regimens have a median survival time of less than 1 year. This suggests that, in general, older patients should receive investigational therapy; however, factors other than age influence survival after administration of standard treatment and need to be accounted for when making treatment recommendations. In some cases where investigational therapy is unavailable, palliative care may be the best option. Like AML, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a disease of the elderly. It is divided into higher and lower risk groups. The natural history of high-risk MDS (eg, > 10% marrow blasts) bears more resemblance to that of AML than to that of an indolent disorder; accordingly, similar therapeutic considerations apply. The more benign natural history of lower risk MDS leads to consideration of reduction in transfusion needs and improvement in quality of life as primary goals of therapy. Lenalidomide, azacitidine, and decitabine, each recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, are useful in achieving these objectives.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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