Promising First Results from Precision Medicine Trial for Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Participants in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) precision medicine clinical trial for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) had superior outcomes compared to patients who received standard chemotherapy treatment.

LLS launched the Beat AML trial in 2016 to test novel targeted therapies in newly diagnosed AML patients aged 60 and older across the United States. Using genomic sequencing, researchers analyzed patients’ cancer cells to identify their AML subtype and administer an appropriate targeted therapy. Genomic analysis was able to be completed within an unprecedented seven days, which is critical for delivering timely treatment for this aggressive blood cancer.

Of 395 patients who were screened and found eligible for the trial, 224 opted to participate in one of the targeted therapy arms. The remaining patients either opted for standard care, palliative care, or an alternative trial.

The median overall survival for patients receiving targeted therapy was 12.8 months, compared to 3.9 months for those receiving standard chemotherapy.

“The study shows that delaying treatment up to seven days is feasible and safe, and that patients who opted for the precision medicine approach experienced a lower early death rate and superior overall survival compared to patients who opted for standard of care,” said study lead John C. Byrd, MD, D. Warren Brown Chair of Leukemia Research at The Ohio State University, in a press release. “This patient-centric study shows that we can move away from chemotherapy treatment for patients who won’t respond or can’t withstand the harsh effects of the same chemotherapies we’ve been using for 40 years and match them with a treatment better suited for their individual case.”

The trial is ongoing, and these results, which are published in Nature Medicine, reflect patients enrolled between November 2016 and January 2018.