Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A trial looking at treatment for people over 60 with acute myeloid leukaemia (HOVON 43)
This trial looked at treatment for people over 60 with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) that was newly diagnosed or difficult to treat (refractory). This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.
Treatment for AML is very intensive and people over 60 are not always fit and well enough to have it. So they often have less intensive treatment. But doctors hoped that giving some extra treatment might work better.
They also looked at giving a type of monoclonal antibody called gemtuzumab ozogamicin (Mylotarg) as ‘consolidation’ treatment. The aim of consolidation treatment is to stop the leukaemia coming back.
The aim of this trial was to see if either a higher dose of daunorubicin or Mylotarg as consolidation could be helpful for older people with AML.
Summary of results
The research team found that a higher dose of daunorubicin was a useful induction treatment for older people with AML. But they also found that there was no benefit in using Mylotarg as a consolidation treatment.
813 people over 60 years old took part in this trial. Of those, 411 had standard dose daunorubicin induction and 402 had higher dose daunorubicin induction. The research team found that there was no sign of the AML (it went into remission) in
- 54 out of every 100 people (54%) who had standard dose daunorubicin
- 64 out of every 100 people (64%) who had higher dose daunorubicin
The people who had higher dose treatment didn’t have any more side effects than the people who had standard dose.
232 of those whose leukaemia went into remission took part in the second stage of the trial. 113 had consolidation treatment with Mylotarg, and 119 had no consolidation.
The research team looked at how often the leukaemia came back, and at how long people lived for. They found that there was no difference between the two groups.
They concluded that using a higher dose of daunorubicin during induction treatment was beneficial for people over 60 with AML. But that using Mylotarg as consolidation treatment was not.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Prof B Lowenberg
Dr J Kell
Cancer Research UK
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKE/04/020.