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Blood. 2009 Apr 16;113(16):3666-72. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-09-179341. Epub 2008 Nov 19.

Improved patient survival for acute myeloid leukemia: a population-based study of 9729 patients diagnosed in Sweden between 1973 and 2005.

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Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna and Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


We evaluated survival patterns for all registered acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients diagnosed in Sweden in 1973 to 2005 (N = 9729; median age, 69 years). Patients were categorized into 6 age groups and 4 calendar periods (1973-1980, 1981-1988, 1989-1996, and 1997-2005). Relative survival ratios were computed as measures of patient survival. One-year survival improved over time in all age groups, whereas 5- and 10-year survival improved in all age groups, except for patients 80+ years. The 5-year relative survival ratios in the last calendar period were 0.65, 0.58, 0.36, 0.15, 0.05, and 0.01 for the age groups 0 to 18, 19 to 40, 41 to 60, 61 to 70, 71 to 80, and 80+ years, respectively. Intensified chemotherapy, a continuous improvement in supportive care, and allogeneic stem cell transplantation are probably the most important factors contributing to this finding. In contrast, there was no improvement in survival in AML patients with a prior diagnosis of a myelodysplastic syndrome during 1993 to 2005 (n = 219). In conclusion, AML survival has improved during the last decades. However, the majority of AML patients die of their disease and age remains an important predictor of prognosis. New effective agents with a more favorable toxicity profile are needed to improve survival, particularly in the elderly.

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