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What Can AML Patients Expect From Treatment?

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Published on February 6, 2020

Acute myeloid leukemia expert Dr. Pinkal Desai, from New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center, discusses factors that help determine the most effective treatment for individual acute myeloid leukemia patients and some induction therapy options available.

This is a Patient Empowerment Network program produced by Patient Power. We thank Astellas, Celgene Corporation, Daiichi Sankyo and Jazz Pharmaceuticals for their support. These organizations have no editorial control. Patient Power is solely responsible for program content.

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Transcript | What Can AML Patients Expect From Treatment?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:            

Jerry was in the hospital for five weeks. Is that what everybody should expect, or are there oral medicines that somebody might eventually be able to take at home? How does it work today? 

Dr. Desai:                     

So, it depends to some extent the genomic profile, and also the age. So, the situation currently is that if we have somebody who is younger who is eligible for intensive chemotherapy, then that is usually the way to go, and when we say “younger,” we’re talking about under 60 years old.

So, these people are generally expected to have an induction chemotherapy like Jerry had, so they’re expected to be in the hospital for about two weeks in total, but sometimes, you have a younger patient who is not too well or biologically a different disease, they have lots of co-morbidities, or very older patients, where we don’t give them chemotherapy, and many of these treatments for AML, particularly in the older patient populations—they are given outpatient, either IV or a combination of IV plus oral agents. So, these are drugs they can take at home. The patients have to be seen very frequently in the clinic, but you can have an outpatient leukemia induction, basically.

Andrew Schorr:            

Can that be effective as well, or is that second best?

Dr. Desai:                     

No, it’s actually quite effective. So, the current induction strategy,  these so-called “lower-intensity” oral or a combination of oral and IV treatments are not inferior at all.

They are—in the old days before the current approvals, for example, now there is data on azacitidine (Vidaza) and venetoclax (Venclexta), or any hypomethylating agents, and some of the oral drugs, where the effectiveness of remission induction reaches almost the same level as an induction chemotherapy, so for these older patients who did not have a good choice of treatment in the past now have a very good regimen that they can actually handle, and it’s effective as well. It’s definitely not second best. I would consider it first best.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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