Treatment of patients with acute myeloid leukemia, medically fit to receive intensive chemotherapy, has been standardized over the past four decades and consists of an anthracycline administered along with continuous cytarabine. This combination is traditionally administered as seven days of cytarabine and three days of anthracycline, known as 7 + 3. Selecting the appropriate choice and dose of anthracycline for induction chemotherapy continues to be debated. Daunorubicin, used in three doses of either 45 mg/m2, 60 mg/m2 or 90 mg/m2, and idarubicin 12 mg/m2 are the two commonly used anthracyclines in clinical practice. Other anthracyclines including mitoxantrone and liposomal daunorubicin are incorporated in the treatment algorithm as well. Our understanding of the underlying biology of acute myeloid leukemia has significantly increased in the past decade, helping us formulate individualized treatment plans. In this chapter, we will discuss pivotal studies comparing the safety and efficacy of different types and doses of anthracyclines, focusing predominantly on daunorubicin and idarubicin. The details of the study design as well as subgroup analysis will be presented to determine which subset of patients with AML may benefit from a particular anthracycline.
Part of the book: Acute Leukemias