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Chromosomal Abnormalities Key For Prediting Leukemia Outcome

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- One of the longest running studies to follow leukemia patients has confirmed that chromosomal abnormalities seen in many of these patients can help determine treatment and predict the likelihood of cure.

The study is a 15-year follow-up of 628 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This was the first large group of AML leukemia patients for which information on chromosomal abnormalities was prospectively collected. The study of chromosomal abnormalities is known as cytogenetics.

“This study provides stronger evidence for the correlation between cure and a patient’s cytogenetics, and between cytogenetics, survival, and the treatment that patients receive,” said Clara Bloomfield, director of the Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center and William G. Pace III Professor of Cancer Research.

“It also showed that the majority of patients who were continuously disease-free for five years after diagnosis were cured.”

The study, which was led by Bloomfield, appears in a recent supplement to the journal Cancer. The 628 patients, median age 49 years, had primary AML that was diagnosed between 1980 and 1982.

Median survival of the patients was 7 months, although survival varied significantly according to the chromosomal abnormalities present. For example, patients whose leukemia cells showed a loss of, or damage to, one of the two copies of chromosome 5 or 7 had a median survival of 3 months, while those showing damage to chromosome 16 had a median survival of 18 months.

Of the 628 AML patients in the study, 56 (9 percent) were alive five years after diagnosis. Of these, nine died of AML between 5 and 10 years, one died of AML 11 years after diagnosis, and 7 seven were unavailable for further follow-up.

This left 39 patients, or 6.2 percent, alive 10 to 15 years after their AML diagnosis.

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Contact: Clara Bloomfield
Bloomfield-1@medctr.osu.edu
(614) 293-7048
Ohio State University
26-Mar-1998


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