Treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia in Elderly Patients—A Therapeutic Dilemma

Hirva Mamdani, Cedric Dos Santos, Heiko Konig

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

6 Scopus citations


Older adults represent the majority of approximately 20,000 new patients diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in the United States each year. While the treatment goal for younger patients is to achieve a cure with intensive therapeutic protocols, including standard chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, these goals are less well defined in the elderly population. This is in part due to the continuous decline in treatment outcomes with increasing age secondary to a number of patient-related and disease-specific factors, ranging from the presence of comorbid conditions to the higher frequency of adverse cytogenetic and unfavorable molecular markers. Although best supportive care, low-dose cytarabine, and epigenetic drugs represent well recognized treatment concepts, no universally accepted strategy for the management of elderly patients with AML exists. Therapeutic decisions are widely based on the patient's age, general health, the disease features, as well as the patient's personal wishes. The predicament of treating AML in the elderly population is the central theme of this review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-587
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • best supportive care
  • comorbid conditions
  • elderly patients
  • hypomethylating agents
  • intensive therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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