Annals of Hematology

, Volume 95, Issue 10, pp 1583–1593 | Cite as

Emerging strategies for the treatment of older patients with acute myeloid leukemia

  • Miguel A. Sanz
  • Gloria Iacoboni
  • Pau Montesinos
  • Adriano Venditti
Review Article


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common acute leukemia in adults, and its incidence increases with age. Clinical outcomes in younger patients have improved over the years but, unfortunately, there is little evidence for an equivalent improvement in outcome for older patients. Approximately 50 % of older patients who are able to receive intensive chemotherapy will achieve a complete remission; however, they face a much higher relapse rate than younger patients, and survival rates for this group are low. Therefore, there is an urgent need to improve outcomes in older patients with AML. In this article, we discuss current treatment paradigms for older patients with AML including the challenges faced when determining which patients are eligible for intensive chemotherapy. We then highlight new treatments in development that may benefit this patient group. Cytotoxic agents, hypomethylating agents, molecularly targeted agents, and cell cycle kinase inhibitors are discussed, with a focus on novel agents that have achieved an advanced stage of development. Overall, the treatment of AML in older patients remains a challenge and, whenever possible, treatment should be offered in the context of clinical trials and should be planned with curative intent.


Acute myeloid leukemia Older patients Novel agents Low-intensity therapy Targeted therapy 



The authors were fully responsible for all content and editorial decisions and were involved at all stages of manuscript development and have approved the final version of this review, which reflects the authors’ interpretation and conclusions. Medical writing assistance, financially supported by Boehringer Ingelheim, was provided by Toby Allinson and Victoria A. Robb of GeoMed, an Ashfield company, part of UDG Healthcare plc, during the preparation of this manuscript. Boehringer Ingelheim was given the opportunity to check the data for factual accuracy only.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miguel A. Sanz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gloria Iacoboni
    • 2
  • Pau Montesinos
    • 2
  • Adriano Venditti
    • 3
  1. 1.Hematology DepartmentValencia University Medical School, Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La FeValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Department of HematologyHospital Universitari i Politècnic La FeValenciaSpain
  3. 3.Department of HematologyTor Vergata University HospitalRomeItaly

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