The MDS Foundation Says Newly Published Study Finds Vidaza Prolongs Survival in Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Publication Could Encourage Physicians to Offer Treatment to Patients with this Difficult Cancer

CROSSWICKS, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb 2, 2010 - The Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) Foundation says a study published this week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology concludes VIDAZA (azacitidine) “prolongs survival and is well tolerated” in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) - an aggressive form of leukemia that in many cases progresses from MDS. The study looked at older patients with a median age of 70. These are patients who have had “no truly adequate treatments,” however the study found that half of the patients treated with VIDAZA survived at least two years, compared to only 16% of patients who received conventional care. Nearly 13,000 AML patients are diagnosed each year in the United States.

“This is encouraging news for patients with AML, an aggressive, difficult to treat cancer where median survival is less than one year,” said Kathy Heptinstall, Operating Director of the Myelodysplastic Syndromes Foundation. “Currently, as documented by an editorial in the same journal, a large portion of older AML patients are offered only supportive or palliative care. We would hope that publication of these encouraging results will spread the word and help change the approach to treatment.”

The study also found that VIDAZA helped reduce the need for blood transfusions that are often required in AML. 41% of patients on VIDAZA achieved transfusion independence, compared to only 18% receiving conventional care. VIDAZA treatment also significantly reduced the number of days spent in the hospital, and reduced serious infections.

The findings come from a subset of an international study of VIDAZA that previously demonstrated improved survival in patients with higher-risk MDS. Both MDS and AML are malignant conditions of cells in the bone marrow. Previously, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommended VIDAZA and DACOGEN® as treatment options for AML patients over 60 years old.

About the MDS Foundation

The Myelodysplastic Syndromes Foundation, Inc. is a multi-disciplinary, international organization devoted to the prevention, treatment, and study of the myelodysplastic syndromes. The organization is based upon the premise that international cooperation will accelerate the process leading to the control and cure of these diseases. For further information, please visit http://www.mds-foundation.org.

 

 

Contact: The MDS Foundation, Inc.
Kathy Heptinstall, 1-800-MDS-0839
Operating Director
or
Media
GL BioCom Partners
Stephen Gendel or Jennifer Anderson
212-918-4650

 

Posted: February 2010

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