Is it possible to cure childhood acute myeloid leukaemia without significant cardiotoxicity?: Review

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Since cardiotoxicity is a life threatening late effect, a reduction of cardiotoxicity in the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is essential. This review is a compilation of the current knowledge about cardiotoxicity after AML treatment and of how future directions in treatment may affect its incidence. A total of six studies concerning AML and cardiotoxicity were identified. The incidence of late subclinical cardiotoxicity varied between 1·3 and 15·3%, and late clinical cardiotoxicity varied between 1·3 and 9·3%. Cumulative dose of anthracyclines (ACs) and history of relapse were the most common risk factors identified. No conclusions could be drawn about new, potentially less toxic ACs. Differences in treatment data and variations in study populations made comparisons uncertain. The echocardiographic techniques used in the majority of the studies are inferior to more modern echocardiographic methods. This decreases reproducibility and may increase the risk of overestimation of cardiotoxicity. In summary, AML cannot be cured today without ACs. However, some ACs may cause less cardiotoxicity than others. Furthermore there is currently no consensus on equipotent doses of ACs and risk factors for cardiotoxicity. Further research including randomized trials is needed to evaluate whether or not the potentially less cardiotoxic agents fulfil their promise.

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