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Keywords:

  • acute myeloid leukaemia;
  • cytogenetics;
  • age;
  • survival;
  • prognosis

Prognostic factors were studied in a series of 211 acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patients over 60 years of age, treated at a single centre. The patients were allocated into three risk groups based on cytogenetics, occurrence of antecedent haematological disorder and leucocyte count. Only 3% had low-risk features, 39% had intermediate- and 58% had adverse-risk features. Complete remission (CR) was achieved in 43% of all patients. In multivariate analyses, the number of cycles needed to achieve CR and the risk group were significantly associated with the duration of CR. Median survival time for the entire cohort of patients was only 107 d. Advanced age, low induction treatment intensity, treatment during earlier years and adverse-risk group were associated with shorter overall survival times. Risk group classification may help selection of elderly patients with a good chance of benefiting from intensive treatment to actually receive such treatment, while sparing others with a low probability of survival benefit from toxic treatment. Low intensity induction treatment reduces the chance of obtaining complete remission, produces inferior survival times and should consequently be avoided when the aim is to obtain complete remission. In elderly AML patients, introducing age and re-evaluation of intermediate and good prognosis patients regarding response to induction treatment may improve the risk group classification.