Yale Cancer Center study highlights challenges for care of AML patients during initial chemotherapy

Orlando, FL — A new study by Yale Cancer Center (YCC) researchers shows understanding treatment patterns for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is vital to develop strategies to improve outcomes. The findings were presented today at the 61st American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting in Orlando, Florida. The annual conference is attended by an international audience of more than 25,000 hematology professionals.

“Patients with AML who are fit enough for chemotherapy are typically admitted to a hospital and treated with anthracycline and cytarabine, in a regimen known as ‘7+3’,” said Rong Wang, Ph.D., a research scientist at YCC and senior author of the study. “But relatively little is known about the experience and outcomes of ‘7+3’ induction chemotherapy outside of the clinical trial and large center settings.” In response, Wang and her colleagues conducted a large population study to assess inpatient care in the U.S. for people with AML, and to compare treatment patterns by hospital volume. Using the Premier Healthcare Database, the researchers reviewed treatment for a total of 6,442 AML patients from 313 hospitals. “We found that one of seven patients receiving ‘7+3,’ including one of four patients aged 65 years and older, died in the hospital during induction or was discharged to hospice, despite being deemed fit for this intensive therapy by their treating doctors,” said Amer Zeidan, MBBS, MHS, associate professor of medicine (hematology) at YCC and lead author of the study. “These findings highlight the need to develop effective and less toxic approaches to treat patients with AML, especially older patients.”

The combined rate of these two events was lower in high-volume hospitals (14.0%) compared to low-volume (17.1%) and medium-volume (16.8%) institutions. Among the variations in care examined in the study, the use of antifungal preventive treatments was significantly better in high-volume hospitals than in low-volume and medium-volume hospitals. Further analyses are ongoing to examine other predictors of treatment outcomes.

About Yale Cancer Center Yale Cancer Center (YCC) is one of only 51 National Cancer Institute (NCI-designated comprehensive cancer) centers in the nation and the only such center in Connecticut. Cancer treatment for patients is available at Smilow Cancer Hospital through 13 multidisciplinary teams and at 15 Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Centers in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Smilow Cancer Hospital is accredited by the Commission on Cancer, a Quality program of the American College of Surgeons. Comprehensive cancer centers play a vital role in the advancement of the NCI’s goal of reducing morbidity and mortality from cancer through scientific research, cancer prevention, and innovative cancer treatment.

 

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