Venetoclax Improves Treatment Landscape for Older Patients With AML

Tapan M. Kadia, MD, discusses the treatment options for patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia.

Tapan M. Kadia, MD, associated professor in the Department of Leukemia at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the treatment options for patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

The first challenge in this population is that because they are older, they have more comorbidities and are difficult to administer intensive chemotherapy to. Older patients also tend to have a different type of AML than younger patients, which tend to have different genetics and can be more difficult to treat, resulting in another challenge for this patient population. Kadia says the 2 challenges are that these patients won’t respond well to therapy and they may not tolerate treatment.

Hypomethylating agents have been an established treatment in the landscape for years, but the response rates are around 20%, says Kadia. The median survival is about 8 to 10 months, but venetoclax provided new hope over the last few years, demonstrating promise with dramatic improvements in responses and potentially survival, according to Kadia.