Elderly Patients Over 80 Can Safely Receive Standard AML Combo Therapy, Study Finds

A new study published in Blood Neoplasia finds that elderly patients over 80 with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) can safely receive standard combination therapy involving venetoclax and a hypomethylating agent, achieving similar benefits as younger patients, and challenging the common perception that older individuals may not be suitable for standard treatment due to concerns about toxicity and tolerability. The study, conducted by Madarang et al., analyzed electronic medical records from 154 patients with AML aged 80 and older, showing that about 20-25% of patients experienced prolonged survival with an average overall survival of 13.2 months." This description focuses on the primary topic of the study, the main entities involved (elderly patients with AML, researchers, and medical records), the context of the study (medical treatment and healthcare), and the significant actions and implications of the findings (challenging common perceptions and providing new hope for elderly AML patients). The description also provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content, such as the age range of patients, the type of cancer, and the treatment approach.

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Trim Correspondents
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Elderly Patients Over 80 Can Safely Receive Standard AML Combo Therapy, Study Finds

Elderly Patients Over 80 Can Safely Receive Standard AML Combo Therapy, Study Finds

Elderly patients over 80 with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) can safely receive standard combination therapy involving venetoclax and a hypomethylating agent, achieving similar benefits as younger patients, according to a new study published in Blood Neoplasia on May 9, 2024. The findings provide new hope for older AML patients who have often been considered too frail for intensive treatment.

Why this matters: This study's results could lead to a significant shift in the treatment approach for elderly AML patients, providing a new avenue for effective care and potentially improving quality of life for this vulnerable population. As the global population ages, this research has important implications for healthcare systems and policymakers seeking to address the unique needs of older adults with cancer.

The study, conducted by Madarang et al., analyzed electronic medical records from 154 patients with AML aged 80 and older who were treated with venetoclax plus hypomethylating agents (VEN-HMA) between March 2015 and April 2022 at six hospitals in the United States and Italy. The average age of the patients was 82, with about 77% newly diagnosed with AML and 10% having relapsed or hard-to-treat disease.

The results showed that about 20-25% of all treated patients experienced prolonged survival, with an average overall survival of 13.2 months for patients who responded to the treatment. At around eight months follow-up, 23% of patients remained in remission, while 20% were still receiving treatment. Death rates within 30 and 60 days of treatment were 8.5% and 17%, comparable to earlier clinical trials with the combination therapy.

"Our study reveals that a significant portion of these patients at the extremes of older age still derive benefit from the VEN-HMA regimen," said Dr. Justin Watts, a hematologist with the University of Miami's Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and senior author of the study. "We hope our findings encourage health care providers to thoughtfully explore all treatment avenues for elderly patients with AML."

Watts also suggested that reducing the dosage and duration of treatment may be necessary for some older patients who may exhibit lower tolerance to venetoclax. The study was limited by its retrospective format and a median follow-up duration of approximately 7.7 months.

Acute myeloid leukemia is a type of blood cancer that starts in the bone marrow and quickly spreads to other parts of the body. It is typically more common in older adults, with the majority of cases diagnosed in people over the age of 65. Current treatment options for AML often involve intensive chemotherapy, which can be challenging for older patients to tolerate.

The new study's findings suggest that elderly AML patients can benefit from the same targeted therapy approach as younger patients, challenging the common perception that older individuals may not be suitable for standard treatment due to concerns about toxicity and tolerability. The results may lead to a shift in how AML is managed in the elderly population, providing a new and effective treatment avenue for those over 80.

Key Takeaways

  • Elderly AML patients (>80) can safely receive standard combo therapy with venetoclax and hypomethylating agents.
  • Similar benefits seen in older patients as in younger patients, with 20-25% experiencing prolonged survival.
  • Average overall survival was 13.2 months for responders, with 23% in remission at 8-month follow-up.
  • Death rates within 30 and 60 days of treatment were 8.5% and 17%, comparable to earlier clinical trials.
  • Study challenges perception that older patients can't tolerate standard treatment, offering new hope for elderly AML patients.