THE CHALLENGE OF AML IN OLDER PATIENTS

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Alan K Burnett

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Abstract

There has been a gradual improvement in the outcome for younger patients with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia over the last two decades, but unfortunately this same progress is not apparent in older patients. “Old” has come to mean rather arbitrarily, patients over 60 years. This age cut off has been perpetuated by clinical trials whose eligibility is frequently at this cut point. Age is a continuous variable right through all age groups with AML and has independent prognostic significance. Chemo-resistance of the disease itself is part of the explanation, with a high frequency of adverse biology occurring at older age(1,2). Patient characteristics which compromise the delivery of treatment of adequate intensity are the other important influence. Medical co-morbidities are more frequent, and when combined with what is sometimes referred to as limited haematopoietic reserve, undoubtedly make successful delivery of intensive therapy less likely. Since........

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