Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Acute myeloid leukemia patients benefit from aggressive therapy

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Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients whose cancer cells have a gene mutation called MLL-PTD, which usually predicts a return of the disease after remission, may remain disease-free longer when given aggressive therapy.

Such AML patients respond poorly to standard therapies and relapse within a year. However, for AML patients who lack the mutation, four in 10 are cured.

This new study, from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, suggests that treating AML patients who have the MLL-PTD mutation with aggressive therapies such as an autologous stem cell transplant while they are in remission may extend their disease-free survival. An autologous transplant uses stem cells taken from the patient's own blood.

About 13,000 new cases of AML are expected this year and about half will have cancer cells with damage. Determining the type of damage can direct doctors to determine the best therapy.
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