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The use of an all oral chemotherapy (idarubicin and etoposide) in the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia in the elderly: a report of toxicity and efficacy

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Graham Jackson, Dr Penelope Taylor, Dr Peter Hamilton, Professor Stephen Proctor


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Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is predominantly a disease of the elderly but such patients are not always appropriate candidates for intensive intravenous (i.v.) based treatment regimens. The development of the anthracycline idarubicin which is highly effective in the treatment of AML and is active when given orally has made it possible to design anti-leukaemic regimens which may be given orally and be particularly useful in those elderly patients with AML considered unsuitable for standard intensive aggressive treatments. We have assessed an oral regimen combining idarubicin 30mg/m(2) and etoposide 80 mg/m(2) far 3 consecutive days as initial treatment in 28 elderly patients with AML (median age 69 years, range 56-81) who were not considered suitable for more intensive i.v. chemotherapy schedules. Following informed consent, two patients died before treatment began and one patient withdrew prior to treatment. Twenty-five patients underwent one to four courses of treatment. The schedule was well tolerated with minor nonhaematological toxicity. The first course was given in hospital, eight of 21 subsequent courses of treatment were given entirely as an out-patient. Eleven patients responded to treatment with nine (36%) achieving complete remission (CR). The median survival for all patients was 3 months, but for the nine who achieved a CR it is 9 months with six patients still alive, five in first CR and one in second CR. We conclude that a combination of idarubicin and etoposide given orally as first-line treatment in elderly patients with AML is safe and effective. In some patients this means treatment and follow-up can be given entirely on an out-patient basis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jackson, G. H., Taylor, P. R. A., Iqbal, A., Galloway, M. J., Turner, G., Haynes, A., Hamilton, P. J., Russell, N., Proctor, S. J.

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Leukemia

Year: 1997

Volume: 11

Issue: 8

Pages: 1193-1196

Print publication date: 01/08/1997

ISSN (print): 0887-6924

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5551


DOI: 10.1038/sj.leu.2400726


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