Cure Rate Soars For Some AML Patients Receiving High-Dose Drug

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A drug given at levels substantially higher than the standard dose can cure nearly five times as many patients who have a certain type of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), new research shows.

The study revealed that 78 percent of patients with “core binding factor” AML who received the drug cytarabine at high dose were in complete remission five years after treatment (and therefore potentially cured) compared to only 16 percent who received the standard dose.

“It is truly remarkable to achieve a cure rate of over 75 percent in a subgroup of adult leukemia patients; this rate approaches that for some types of childhood leukemia,” said Clara Bloomfield, director of Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center and William G. Pace III Professor of Cancer Research.

“Because high-dose cytarabine is quite toxic, especially for older people, we want to use it only with those patients who will benefit. These results tell us which patients we can cure, and which ones should receive other therapy.”

The finding is considered particularly strong because the study had followed patients for more than seven years after treatment; most such studies rely on models to project estimates of five-year remission rates.

The study, which was led by Bloomfield, appeared in the September issue of the journal Cancer Research. It involved 285 newly diagnosed AML patients aged 16 and older who were in remission. During the second phase of their treatment, a phase known as “intensification therapy,” the patients were randomly assigned to receive cytarabine at either standard dose (100 milligrams per square meter

Contact: Clara Bloomfield
Ohio State University

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