Azacitidine in the treatment of older patients affected by acute myeloid leukemia: A report by the Rete Ematologica Pugliese (REP)

Mario Delia, Paola Carluccio, Caterina Buquicchio, Carolina Vergine, Giuseppina Greco, Barbara Amurri, Angela Melpignano, Lorella Melillo, Nicola Cascavilla, Attilio Guarini, Silvana Capalbo, Giuseppe Tarantini, Patrizio Mazza, Vincenzo Pavone, Nicola Di Renzo, Giorgina Specchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The optimal treatment of older patients (>65 years) with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remains challenging in daily clinical practice; a choice has to be made between intensive chemotherapy and best supportive care. To guide physicians, several prognostic factors have been identified and risk scores developed. Recently, the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor azacitidine has become available for use in MDS and AML patients with up to 30% bone marrow blasts. However, limited data are available on the outcome of older unfit AML patients, regardless of their bone marrow blast count. We retrospectively analyzed the outcome of 90 newly diagnosed older unfit AML patients in 9 Institutions from the Apulia Region (REP). Responder patients (evaluation performed after 4 cycles of treatment even in cases of primary failure) showed a better overall survival than non responders (23 vs 6 months, p<.001). ECOG PS ≥ 2 seems to be correlated with OS in multivariate analysis, while neither primary treatment failure (documented after 2 cycles) nor bone marrow blast count were correlated with a worse overall survival either at univariate (22 vs 29 months, p= .ns; 16 vs 19 months, p= .ns) or multivariate analysis. Overall, the results of our retrospective analysis seem to confirm the efficacy of AZA treatment for this unfit AML patients setting, in terms of both CR and OS, regardless of the bone marrow blasts count, while primary treatment failure should not lead to a discontinuation of treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1166-1171
Number of pages6
JournalLeukemia Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Apr 22 2015


  • AML
  • Older unfit patients
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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