For most types of acute myeloid leukemia
About 2 out of 3 acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients who get standard induction chemotherapy (chemo) with daunorubicin and cytarabine go into remission. This usually means the bone marrow contains fewer than 5% blast cells, the blood cell counts are within normal limits, and there are no signs or symptoms of the disease. The actual chance of remission depends to a large part on a person’s specific prognostic factors, such as age or the presence of certain gene or chromosome changes.
If remission is achieved, patients may then get more chemo (consolidation). Up to half of patients that get this go into long-term remission (and may be cured). But this number is also affected by prognostic factors, such as a person’s age and whether the leukemia cells have certain gene or chromosome changes. Using an allogeneic stem cell transplant as consolidation has a higher success rate, but it also has a higher risk of death as a complication.
Older patients generally don’t do as well as those younger than 60. They often have trouble tolerating intensive treatment and often have chromosome changes in their leukemia cells that are linked to a poorer outlook. About half of these patients go into remission after initial treatment.
For acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL)
More than 90% of patients with APL go into remission with standard induction treatment. With consolidation and maintenance, about 70% to 90% of patients with APL are successfully treated long-term.
Last Revised: 02/22/2016