Decitabine, a DNA hypomethylating agent, was recently approved for use in Korea for older adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who are not candidates for standard chemotherapy. This study aimed to evaluate the role of decitabine as a first-line treatment for older adults with AML.
Materials and Methods
Twenty-four patients with AML who received at least one course of decitabine (20 mg/m2/d intravenously for 5 days every 4 weeks) as a first-line therapy at Severance Hospital were evaluated retrospectively.
The median age of the patients was 73.5 years. The longest follow-up duration was 502 days. A total of 113 cycles of treatment were given to 24 patients, and the median number of cycles was four (range, 1–14). Thirteen patients dropped out because of death, no or loss of response, patient refusal, or transfer to another hospital. Twenty-one (87.5%) and 12 (50%) patients completed the second and fourth cycles, respectively, and responses to treatment were evaluated in 17. A complete response (CR) or CR with incomplete blood-count recovery was achieved in six (35.3%) patients, and the estimated median overall survival was 502 days. Ten patients developed grade >2 hematologic or non-hematologic toxicities. In univariate analysis, bone marrow blasts, lactate dehydrogenase, serum ferritin level, and bone marrow iron were significantly associated with response to decitabine.
Five-day decitabine treatment showed acceptable efficacy in older patients with AML who are unfit for conventional chemotherapy, with a CR rate 35.3% and about a median overall survival of 18 months.