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Cancer. 2007 Jul 1;110(1):96-102.

Hyperglycemia in patients with acute myeloid leukemia is associated with increased hospital mortality.

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Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy and Sleep Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.



Hyperglycemia is often observed in medically ill patients. Previous studies have shown that patients with hyperglycemia during induction therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia develop more infections and have shorter disease-free survival. The authors hypothesized that hyperglycemia may be associated with adverse outcomes in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and sought to determine whether this association exists in this population.


The authors performed a retrospective cohort study to examine the relation between hyperglycemia and hospital mortality in patients with the diagnosis of AML. Two hundred eighty-three adult patients were treated over a 3-year period. All hospitalizations were reviewed during the study period, and glucose exposure and outcomes were quantified.


Hyperglycemia during a patient's hospitalization was associated with increased hospital mortality (OR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.23-1.55; P < .001) after adjusting for covariates, including disease state, treatment type, and response. The rise in mortality was evident at even mild levels (110-150 mg/dL) of glucose elevation. Although the odds of developing severe sepsis (OR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.13.-1.38; P < .001) or severe sepsis with respiratory failure (OR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.44-2.91; P < .001) were increased with hyperglycemia, sepsis did not appear to be the main factor responsible for the negative impact of hyperglycemia on hospital mortality.


This study demonstrated an association between hospital mortality and even modest levels of hyperglycemia in AML patients. Prospective studies are needed to confirm this association and to discern causal pathways that mediate this effect.

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