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Advances prompt release of new recommendations for diagnosis, management of adult AML

January 25, 2017

Columbus, Ohio - An international panel of experts has released updated evidence-based and expert-opinion-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in adults.

The recommendations were issued by the European LeukemiaNet (ELN) and published in the journal Blood. The paper's senior author was Clara D. Bloomfield, MD, Distinguished University Professor, Ohio State University Cancer Scholar and Senior Adviser, and the William Greenville Pace III Endowed Chair in Cancer Research.

"These guidelines are an important update of the current and widely used recommendations for managing AML, for constructing clinical trials and for predicting outcomes of AML patients," says Bloomfield, who co-chaired the panel. "They will be the new standard of care and will replace the 2010 ELN recommendations for managing AML patients and designing clinical trials."

Adult AML affects an estimated 21,400 Americans per year and kills 10,600 of them, according to the American Cancer Society.

The updated recommendations include revised ELN genetic categories, a proposed response category based on minimal residual disease status, and a proposed category for progressive disease for clinical trials. They also include the newly updated World Health Organization classification of myeloid neoplasms and acute leukemia, also published in the journal Blood.

Bloomfield said updating the ELN recommendations was prompted by new insights into the molecular and genomic causes of the disease, by the development of new genetic tests and tests for detecting minimal residual disease and by the development of novel anti-leukemic agents.

The panel that produced the new guidelines included 22 international members with recognized AML clinical and research expertise. Bloomfield notes three particularly significant changes in the updated ELN recommendations:
  • There are now three genetic-risk categories, rather than four, and the FLT3-ITD mutation has been added as a marker of risk;

  • "Complete remission with no evidence of minimal residual disease" is a new proposed response category; this criterion requires that genetic markers present at diagnosis are no longer detectable. "It is no longer good enough to examine bone-marrow samples and say the leukemia is gone," Bloomfield says. "We must also see the loss of genetic markers."

  • "Progressive disease" is a new provisional response category to be used in clinical trials only; the purpose of the category is to harmonize the various definitions of progressive disease that are used in different clinical trials.
Funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the U.S. National Cancer Institute (grants CA180861, CA016058 ) and grants from multiple other countries supported this research.

Other researchers involved in this study were Hartmut Döhner, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany; Elihu Estey and Frederick R. Appelbaum, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; David Grimwade, King's College London, UK; Sergio Amadori and Francesco Lo-Coco, Università di Roma "Tor Vergata," Rome, Italy; Thomas Büchner, University of Münster, Münster, Germany; Hervé Dombret, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris, France; Benjamin L. Ebert, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School; Pierre Fenaux, Hôpital Saint Louis, Paris, France; Richard A. Larson, University of Chicago; Ross L. Levine and Martin S. Tallman, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Tomoki Naoe, National Hospital Organization Nagoya Medical Center, Nagoya, Japan; Dietger Niederwieser, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; Gert J. Ossenkoppele, Vrije Universiteit University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Miguel Sanz, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain; Jorge Sierra, Autonomus University of Barcelona, Spain; Hwei-Fang Tien, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan; Andrew H. Wei, The Alfred Hospital and Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; and Bob Löwenberg, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

About the OSUCCC - James

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute strives to create a cancer-free world by integrating scientific research with excellence in education and patient-centered care, a strategy that leads to better methods of prevention, detection and treatment. Ohio State is one of only 47 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only a few centers funded by the NCI to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials on novel anticancer drugs. As the cancer program's 306-bed adult patient-care component, The James is one of the top cancer hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report and has achieved Magnet designation, the highest honor an organization can receive for quality patient care and professional nursing practice. At 21 floors with more than 1.1 million square feet, The James is a transformational facility that fosters collaboration and integration of cancer research and clinical cancer care.

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

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