Improvements in the Early Death Rate Among 9380 Patients With Acute Myeloid Leukemia After Initial Therapy: A SEER Database Analysis

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is treated with conventional induction chemotherapy shortly after diagnosis for the majority of patients aged ≤65 years. A recent report suggested a substantial decline in the early, or 1-month, mortality rate in patients treated on clinical trials over the past 2 decades. It is unknown whether a similar improvement has been observed in the general population.

METHODS:

The authors examined the 1-month mortality rate in a large population-based series of 9380 patients with AML who were aged ≤65 years and were diagnosed and treated with chemotherapy between 1973 and 2010.

RESULTS:

A significant decline was observed in the 1-month mortality rate from 18.7% among patients diagnosed from 1973 through 1977 (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 16.4%-21.2%) to 5.8% for those diagnosed between 2008 and 2010 (95% CI, 4.5%-7.6%) (P <.001). The median overall survival improved significantly from 6 months (95% CI, 5 months-7 months) in 1973 to 1977 to 23 months (95% CI, 16 months-20 months) in 2008 to 2010 (P <.001). Although age and geographic variation were found to significantly influence the 1-month mortality for the period between 1973 and 1977, these differences in 1-month mortality were no longer significant among patients with AML who were treated more recently (2008-2010).

CONCLUSIONS:

Over the past 4 decades, early mortality has become uncommon in younger patients (aged ≤65 years) with newly diagnosed AML undergoing induction chemotherapy. It is encouraging that the improvements noted in 1-month mortality rate among a selective cohort of patients in clinical trials have also been observed in a population-based analysis.

Early death in patients aged ≤ 65 years with acute myeloid leukemia has declined significantly over time from 18.7% for patients diagnosed between 1973 and 1977 to 5.8% for patients diagnosed between 2008 and 2010. Simultaneously, the median overall survival improved significantly from 6 months for those diagnosed between 1973 and 1977 to 23 months for those diagnosed between 2008 and 2010.

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