Present status and perspectives regarding the therapeutic strategy for acute myeloid leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma in the elderly

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The incidence of cancers increases with advancing age. To improve the quality of life of elderly patients with hematological malignancies, appropriate therapeutic approaches have to be provided under adequate informed consent and with evaluation of the prognostic factors that predict the therapeutic outcome of each disease. Even in elderly patients, combination chemotherapies are effective for obtaining a good outcome for selected populations judged by factors such as performance status, pre-existing comorbid conditions or disease features; however, non-intensive treatment or supportive care might also be considered for patient groups with a poor prognosis. Therefore, the clinical parameters of the relevance for treatment decisions in the elderly are herein addressed. During cancer treatment, attention must be paid to the presence of age-related organ dysfunction, drug resistance, drug-induced side-effects such as end organ-targeted toxicity, or neutropenia due to myelosuppression by cytotoxic drugs. Current therapeutic approaches are therefore expected to have good compliance and better outcome in elderly patients by the introduction of several molecularly targeted therapies, novel nucleoside analogs or non-myeloablative stem cell transplantation.

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