New treatment option for older patients with blood cancer
Researchers are a step closer to offering older patients with an aggressive blood cancer, acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a new less-toxic treatment option.
Associate Professor Andrew Wei, a haematologist from The Alfred and Monash University Clinical School, is leading research that uses a combination of two anti-cancer drugs to treat patients with AML.
The results of a recent study, published in the Journal of Clinical Onocolgy, show over half of the trial's patients achieved remission when they were treated with venetoclax and low-dose cytarabine (LDAC).
It’s an important advancement because older adults are often excluded from intensive chemotherapy due to higher risks of complications and poor outcomes. The researchers wanted to find a more-effective and less-toxic treatment option.
A/Prof Wei said that a randomised trial of the combined therapy has recently been completed and the results are awaited to support a submission to the Therapeutic Goods Association in Australia.
“With an expected doubling in the number of people over 65 in the next 30 years, the need to find more effective treatments for this disease is paramount,” A/Prof Wei said.
The current research is supported by another trial that combined venetoclax with another drug, azacytidine, which also had significant positive outcomes for patients.
Based on the early results of two studies, the Food and Drug Administration in the US approved the use of these combination drug therapies in older people with AML.
Researchers are now considering whether younger patients could benefit from the combined therapy.