VIDAZA prolongs survival in AML patients

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”

“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.


  1. W. K. Rich W. K. Rich United States says:

    My father, 89, was diagnosed with AML in September 2010 and immediately began a regime of Vidaza five times a week once every four weeks.  His improvement was such three months later that the oncologist did a second bone marrow aspiration to confirm the original conclusions.  And while they said blasts were elevated they were substantially reduced after only three rounds of treatment.  Now in his sixth month of treatment, his overall health is maintained if not improved and his PLT and NEU counts are low normal (PLT was 30, now 148).  WBC has improved to the point where prophylactic Cipro was discontinued. The doctor says his progress is "amazing", this after he told my father he had terminal leukemia and should get his affairs in order, quickly.  And, virtually no side effects with standard pre-nausea medications. Of course, he is 89...

    • Nithia Nithia South Africa says:


      Was just reading your comments on Vidaza, how is your Dad.

      My Dad has just been diagnosed with AML, was looking at using Vidaza. They are unable to do agressive chemo.

  2. nayla nayla Canada says:

    my father who is 72, recently diagnosed with AML and we are going thru the second cycle of vidaza. He is quite neutropenic and is on prophylactic antibiotics and supportive measures. He receives platelets and pack cells transfusions regularly.
    When did you start noticing the improvements in your fathers counts? And how many cycles of vidaza dis he receive to become transfusion independent.
    Thanks for your help.

  3. lyndon mulhearn lyndon mulhearn United Kingdom says:

    My Dad was diagnosed with AML last november,he has had 3 rounds of chemo and was told he was clear.
    It has since returned after only a three month remision and has been told he basically has two options the first being Vidaza. 7 days of injections as an out patient, then 3 weeks off for as long as this is working.
    we were told that some people manage 9 cycles if they respond well so the best we could hope for is 9 months!

    The second option is a trial drug combined with another 3 month round of chemo(Vorinostat/ cytarabine) but being a trial he is not guaranteed to receive the trial drug,he may just get the chemo with a placebo!

    He is now 72 and has some other complications being that he is diabetic and had a triple heart bypass around 12 yrs ago.
    but other than that up until around May or June of Last year was reasonably fit and played golf regularly.

    He seems reluctant to go through the chemo again as it would mean long periods in hospital and there does'nt seem to be any better chance of prolonging his life even if it works!

    I have read on some blogs that Vidaza had been found to give patients up to TWO years in over 75% of cases but this not what we have been led to believe.

    I suppose my questions are
    A.  has any one had any experince of the Vidaza treatment?

    B. if so, did it work well and for how long?

    C. are there any other options i could ask his doctor to look at,as at this moment the       Leukemia cells are quite low.

    Any help in making our decision would be of great help.

  4. Anne Sullivan Anne Sullivan United States says:

    I am 55 and have been on Vidaza for 3 months now. It has brought upy platelet count and lowered my monocytes. I have chronic myelomonocytic leukemia and it has been working for me. I feel much better than I have in a year.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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