Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu
22 February 2011
Antibody-directed chemotherapy offers improved survival to particular sub-groups of leukaemia sufferers, a University-led study has found.
The findings suggest that the treatment may be effective for the majority of younger acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) sufferers, who can be identified by genetic profiling.
The research team studied more than a thousand patients, predominantly under 60, who received a combination of chemotherapy and the drug Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin (commercial name Mylotarg).
The study found no overall difference in survival rates across the whole study group. However, once the patients were broken down by pre-determined sub-groups, the researchers found significant differences.
For patients whose chromosomes showed they were already at low risk, the team found that combined treatment delivered a marked survival advantage. There was no advantage for those at high risk, and a trend towards a benefit for those at intermediate risk. Around 70 per cent of patients were found to have a predicted improvement of 10 per cent of surviving for five years. A sub-group with Core Binding Factor (CBF) leukaemia was found to have a particularly clear benefit from the treatment.
Professor Alan Burnett of the School of Medicine, who led the study, said: "We already know that Acute Myeloid Leukaemia is a collection of diseases. Our study suggests that particular treatments may need to be targeted to these particular sub-groups. We have found that CBF patients have distinctly better survival chances, with few additional side-effects, if Mylotarg is combined with conventional chemotherapy. Further research is required into this prospect."
The research was supported by a grant from the Medical Research Council and conducted at hospitals across the UK and in Denmark. The findings have just been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and are also the subject of an editorial in the Journal.
50 years of Occupational Therapy education
Report reveals public attitudes to climate change
Transforming society through digital technologies
Putting Welsh-American pioneer back on historic map
World Cup ref blows the whistle on mental health
Multi-billion dollar industry with power to transform developing countries
Developing project managers
Common ground discovered in mental illness
Leading microbiologist warns of killer fungi’s increasing threat
This is an externally hosted beta service offered by Google.