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Adult myeloid leukaemias: Current and future treatments

Acute myeloid leukaemia is treated with chemotherapy and, if appropriate, stem cell transplantation. For those with chronic myeloid leukaemia, therapy has been transformed by tyrosine kinase inhibitors

By Nick Duncan, MSc, MRPharmS

alse-colour scanning electron micrograph of blood

 

Summary

The management of chronic myeloid leukaemia has been revolutionised by the discovery of imatinib and other tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

However, there is still significant progress to be made in the pharmacological treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and the myelodysplastic syndromes, since the prognosis of particular subgroups (eg, elderly patients with AML and patients with MDS who are deemed to be at higher risk) remains poor.

With research ongoing into several novel, targeted therapies, the hope is that the incremental improvements in patient outcomes, which have been demonstrated over the past few decades, will continue to be seen in the future. Concerns remain about whether the significant acquisition costs associated with these novel therapies will prevent their adoption into routine clinical practice.

Nick Duncan is principal pharmacist for haematology/oncology at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

Email: nick.duncan@uhb.nhs.uk

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist URI: 11004809

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