Acute myeloid leukaemia in the elderly: Clinical management and the application of molecular cytogenetic techniques
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In Western Europe and North America, acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is predominantly a disease of the elderly, with a median age at the time of presentation in excess of 60 years. However, many clinical trials in AML fail to recruit elderly adults due to a combination of strict entry criteria, or physician or patient bias. Thus, clinical outcome data from many trials may not be readily applicable to older patients with the disease. Furthermore, because the clinical outcome for many older patients with AML is frequently poor, elderly patients who receive intensive chemotherapy with curative intent are frequently selected for treatment on clinical criteria rather than on objective prognostic criteria that may define clinical outcome. The karyotype at the time of presentation may be considered one of the most important prognostic factors in adult AML. Therefore, the aim of this thesis were firstly to analyse the clinical outcome data from a cohort of elderly patients managed at a single centre in order to document the cytogenetic features of AML in an elderly population, to define the prognostic importance of presentation karyotype in the elderly, and to identify other prognostic factors. Retrospective analysis clearly demonstrated improved clinical outcome for older patients with AML over time, primarily as a consequence of improved supportive care and the delivery of more intensive chemotherapy. In addition, 'unfavourable' presentation karyotype, increasing age and raised serum LDH were found to correlate with poor clinical outcome Molecular cytogenetic techniques based upon fluorescence in-situ hybridisation technology offer the chance to detect and analyse cytogenetic aberrations at a higher resolution than can be achieved with conventional techniques. The cytogenetic data provided by comparative genomic hybridisation and mulitplex fluorescence in-situ hybridisation when used in the analysis of elderly patients with AML were found to correlate well with results obtained by conventional methods. Importantly, additive cytogenetic data were more likely to be provided if multiplex-fluorescence in-situ hybridisation was used in the analysis of cases with marker chromosomes or in cases with complex karyotype, although the technique was limited by an inability to reliably detect telomeric translocations. In addition, although both techniques can be used to complement conventional G-banding analysis, conventional FISH methods are often required to confirm the results.
AuthorsDalley, Christopher Dean
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