Advances in chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have resulted in the exclusion of patients not undergoing induction chemotherapy from research studies. To examine in detail the clinical experience of such patients, we retrospectively analyzed the outcomes of consecutive patients diagnosed with AML at our hospital from 2004 to 2012. Of 158 AML patients, 43 (27 %) did not undergo induction chemotherapy. Their median survival duration was 1.5 months, with 11, six, and four patients surviving more than 3, 6, and 12 months, respectively. As expected, their survival was worse than that of those treated with intensive or less-intensive induction therapy (14, 74, and 47 % at 1 year, and 0, 40, and 10 % at 4 years, respectively). Low white blood cell count at AML diagnosis and prior history of myelodysplastic syndrome were significantly associated with longer survival. Our findings suggest that modern supportive care measures do not prolong survival for AML patients not undergoing induction chemotherapy, although certain patients show relatively long survival. These data should prove helpful in discussing treatment pathways with patients for cases in which palliative or supportive therapy alone may be a viable treatment option.
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