The treatment of acute myeloid leukemia in elderly with age > 65 years is still debated. Various reported studies have valued the feasibility of intensive chemotherapy in these setting of patients. The aim of the our study is to value the difference in DFS and OS among 2 groups of elderly patients with AML treated with intensive chemotherapy (IC) or maintenance (M). From June 2001 to May 2005 we have accepted in our Division 45 patients affected by AML aged up to 65 years. 25 were male and 20 were female, with a median age of 75 years (range 67–86 years). 22 patients (12 M and 10 F, median age: 71 years) received intensive chemotherapy (I.C. Flag and MICE) and 23 (13 M and 10 F, median age: 78 years) received or maintenance therapy (low dose cytarabine) or only support. In IC group 11 patients (50%) have obtained to complete remission (CR) with a DSF and OS media of 7,5 and 6,3 months respectively, and a TRM rate of 27%. In the M group the CR has been documented in 6 patients (35%) treated with low dose of cytarabine, with a DFS and OS media of 6,9 and 4,4 months respectively (graph 1–2). This results have shown, as expected, a better CR rate in the IC group, but without any advantage in terms of OS and DFS when compared with the M group. Difference is not statistically significant between the two groups (p: 0.5). Despite a good CR rate, Intensive chemotherapy do not improves survival in elderly patients. This is probably due to the combination of either a high TRM in patients treated with intensive chemotherapy or a high relapse rate. New therapeutics strategies are needed to improve DFS and OS in these patients. Interesting is the use of specific monoclonal antibodies (anti CD33) in this poor risk disease especially in maintenance after a CR obtainable with a low intensive or low dose chemotherapy.

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