A new study has found that longer courses of a mild form of chemotherapy using decitabine could be extremely beneficial to patients living with pre leukemia. Pre leukemia, which is now more commonly known as Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) only recently was acknowledged as being a legitimate form of cancer even though it nearly always has led to the development of leukemia.
The study was published in the latest issue of the journal for the American Cancer Society and takes an in-depth look at pre leukemia and its implications on the human body.
According to researchers, an estimated 45 percent of patients living with pre leukemia and relapse respond to a second course of treatment, but don't receive the quality and duration in the second response that they did in their initial rounds of chemotherapy. This new finding is leading researchers to believe that longer initial treatments may be more beneficial in the long-run than several rounds of therapy.
The study found that treatment with an average of three courses of decitabine resulted in 10 patients out of the 22 analyzed getting any sort of response. Three of the patients involved are said to have had a partial or complete response in all three of their cell lines and seven other patients experienced hematologic improvements and an at least 50 percent drop in their transfusion requirements. The median overall survival rate was reportedly 28 months and decitabine-retreated patients had only a 13 month survival rate after relapsing.
Decitabine retreatment in 12 of the patients not achieving a second response either had no effect or suppressed the abnormal cells without bone marrow repopulation with the normal cells. Of these 12, four patients went from having pre leukemia to developing acute leukemia.
In conclusion, the authors believe the most beneficial type of treatment for pre leukemia patients is a longer initial round of chemotherapy following by shorter maintenance rounds.
Pre leukemia is a disease that affects the bone marrow and causes an increased number of dysfunctional white and red blood cells. The cells typically blast and create from the stem cells while proliferating in the blood stream and killing the normal blood cells. As a result of this irregular production of blood cells, fewer red blood cells form in order to circulate and carry the oxygen in the body.
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