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Combination therapy with azacitidine, etoposide, and cytarabine in the treatment of elderly acute myeloid leukemia patients: A single center experience

1 Department of Hematology, Ankara Diskapi Yıldırım Beyazit Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey
2 Department of Pathology, Ankara Diskapi Yıldırım Beyazit Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey

Correspondence Address:
Birgul Onec,
Department of Hematology, Duzce University of Medicine, 81000 Konuralp, Duzce
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

Aims: The prognosis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in elderly patients is worse due to age and comorbidities. Lately, monotherapy with hypomethylating agents like azacitidine (Aza) has been used to prolong overall survival (OS) in AML patients. Herein, we present a retrospective study investigating treatment responses and OS of Aza in combination with etoposide (Eto) and cytarabine (ARA-C) in elderly. Materials and Methods: In this study, therapies and outcomes of 37 newly diagnosed AML patients, >60 years old, and ineligible for intensive chemotherapy were investigated retrospectively. Patients were grouped according to the treatments they received as follows - Group 1: low-dose conventional therapies as hydroxyurea, low-dose ARA-C, or best supportive care (n = 11); Group 2: Aza alone (n = 6); Group 3: Aza in combination with Eto and ARA-C (Aza + Eto + ARA-C, n = 20). Results: It was found that an Aza + Eto + ARA-C combination therapy had significantly better overall response rates (P = 0.002). Combination group had significantly better OS than Group 1 (8 months vs. 1 month, P < 0.001), the difference between combination and monotherapy was not significant. The OS was also associated with age and performance status, but the difference was still statistically significant after adjustment for these factors, especially for patients with younger age and better performance. Conclusions: We concluded that combination therapy of Aza with Eto and ARA-C increases response rates, and prolong survival for this poor prognosed patient group. We believe that larger controlled studies investigating Aza combinations with other antileukemic drugs will contribute to the development of tolerable treatment protocols for elderly AML patients.

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