Hello there! On Seeking Alpha I have published a monster of an article on the current and emerging treatment options for acute myeloid leukemia. You can read that here, if you haven’t seen it already.
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Key terms for acute myeloid leukemia
This is AML that arises spontaneously. Also called “de novo” AML. Primary AML can result from genetic changes that were inherited or acquired over a patient’s lifetime. In addition, “treatment-related” AML counts as a primary form of the disease.
This is AML that arises because of progression of a “premalignant” (non-cancerous) disease. Most commonly these conditions come in the form of myelodysplastic syndrome (abbreviated MDS) or myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). Prevention of progression to AML remains one of the most important treatment goals for these diseases.
This refers to the regimen of induction chemotherapy provided as a standard to all patients who are reasonably healthy. The patient is put the hospital and receives 7 days of a continuous infusion of cytarabine, which is a chemotherapy that disrupts cell metabolism.
This is followed by 3 days where the patient receives daunorubicin or idarubicin, which are both chemotherapies of the anthracycline family. These anthracyclines are among the most effective chemotherapies in our arsenal, but they are also associated with serious risks of heart toxicity.
This is a European body that provides evidence-based recommendations for the management of various leukemias. This makes them a sort of blood cancer-specific corollary to the United States’ National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), which provides clinical guidelines for a variety of different forms of cancer.
Refers specifically to a patient’s risk of relapse after standard treatment. This is determined nowadays by analyzing the leukemia for genetic features that are associated with worse outcomes. Patients can then be stratified into “favorable,” “intermediate,” or “adverse” risk of relapse, and therapy can be tailored accordingly.
The first assault on the leukemia. Induction chemotherapy is given with the goal of inducing a complete remission, which is where there is elimination of over 95% of the cancer cells, and the white blood counts have returned.
Treatment given with the intention of annihilating any cancer cells that might remain after a complete remission has been achieved. This may be additional rounds of chemotherapy or an allogeneic stem cell transplant.
Treatment given continuously for a prolonged period of time with the intention of keeping the cancer from coming back after a remission.
Allogeneic stem cell transplant
This is a treatment strategy where a patient’s bone marrow is wiped out through high-dose therapy, which also helps kill most of the cancer cells. Following this, the patient receives a transplant of bone marrow from a closely matched donor. Hopefully, the donor’s bone marrow helps to restore immunity and blood cell production, while also fighting the residual cancer cells.
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