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Therapeutic strategy of untreated de novo acute myeloid leukemia in the elderly: the efficacy of continuous drip infusion with low dose cytarabine and etoposide



To evaluate the efficacy and safety of a novel low dose chemotherapy as a remission induction regimen for elderly de novo AML patients ineligible for intensive chemotherapy.


Fifty consecutive patients aged 60 to 85 with untreated de novo AML were enrolled. Patients with poor PS or defined non-hematological complications were given continuous drip infusion of low dose cytarabine (Ara-C), 20 mg/body and etoposide (VP-16), 50 mg/body for 10 days (AV group). Patients without those cormobidities were given intensive induction therapy (S group). After achieving complete remission (CR), S group patients and those with improved PS in AV group received consolidation chemotherapy with intensive regimen (S-S or AV-S group), and other patients received AV regimen repeatedly (AV-AV group).


Eighteen (64%; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.47–0.82) of 28 patients in AV group and 16 (73%; 95% CI, 0.54–0.91) of 22 patients in S group achieved CR, respectively. The 1-year OS rates of the patients in the AV-AV group (n = 9), AV-S group (n = 9), and S-S group (n = 16) were 22, 81, and 78%, respectively. Although the sample size was small, no significant difference was observed for the 1-year OS rate between the AV-S and S-S groups. Regimen related death were 4 patients in S group, while no patient in AV group.


Therapeutic strategy consisting of remission induction using AV regimen and consolidation using intensive regimen after improving PS is beneficial in the management of elderly AML patients who have difficulty in tolerating for intensive induction chemotherapy.

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Correspondence to Hisashi Tsurumi.

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Tsurumi, H., Kanemura, N., Hara, T. et al. Therapeutic strategy of untreated de novo acute myeloid leukemia in the elderly: the efficacy of continuous drip infusion with low dose cytarabine and etoposide. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 133, 547–553 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00432-007-0203-3

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  • Elderly
  • AML
  • Low dose cytarabine
  • Etoposide