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Cancer. 2007 Jul 15;110(2):345-52.

Intensive chemotherapy is not recommended for patients aged >60 years who have myelodysplastic syndromes or acute myeloid leukemia with high-risk karyotypes.

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Department of Hematology, Oncology, and Clinical Immunology, Heinrich-Heine University, Dusseldorf, Germany.



It is unclear whether intensive chemotherapy is beneficial to patients with high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML) if they are aged >/=60 years.


The authors studied 160 patients with a median age of 67 years who received intensive chemotherapy for MDS or AML with cytosine arabinoside and an anthracycline.


At diagnosis, cytogenetic analysis was available in 146 patients. Karyotype was normal in 78 patients and abnormal in 68 patients. Of the abnormal karyotypes, 32 belonged to the high-risk category, ie, they involved either >/=3 chromosomes or chromosome 7. Complete remission (CR) was achieved by 94 patients (56%). CR rates were 70% among the patients who had a normal karyotype, 69% among the patients who had an abnormal (noncomplex) karyotype, but only 46% among the patients ho had a high-risk karyotype. The median survival was 9.5 months in the entire group, 18 months in patients with normal karyotype, 6 months in patients with abnormal, and 4 months in patients with a high-risk karyotype. A poor prognosis was attributable to low rates of CR and a high risk of early recurrence.


According to the current data, elderly patients with AML or advanced MDS do not benefit from intensive chemotherapy if they show karyotype anomalies, especially those in the high-risk category.

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