Hematologic Cancers

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous disease affec ting approximately 13,000 people in the United States each year.1 For younger adults (<60 years) standard induction treatment includes 7 days of cytarabine and 3 days of an anthracycline. Adults 60 years and older may also be treated with this regimen or a less intensive approach using outpatient chemotherapy or supportive care. The intensive chemotherapy regimens have been in use since the 1970s, with little improvement in complete re sponse (CR) rate or overall survival (OS).

In 2000, before imatinib was marketed, it was estimated that there would be 4400 new diagnoses of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and 2300 patients would die as a result of the disease in the United States.1 In 2009, the number of estimated new cases of CML increased to 5050, but the number of patients who were expected to succumb to the cancer decreased to 470 patients.2 The US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of imatinib in 2001 was seen as a giant leap toward improving and prolonging the lives of patients diagnosed with CML.

Adding rituximab to fludarabine and cyclophosphamide chemotherapy improves overall survival (OS) in patients with advanced, symptomatic chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) compared with chemotherapy alone, according to a study by German researchers.

The addition of bortezomib to a standard regimen for patients newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma resulted in sustained im provements in quality of life, compared with the standard two-drug regimen, according to long-term re sults from the landmark Velcade as Initial Standard Therapy in Multiple Myeloma (VISTA) trial, which led to the approval of bortezomib for this indication.

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