New Version of an Old Chemotherapy May Reduce Risk of Cardiotoxicity in AML

CURE, Fall 2013, Volume 12, Issue 3

Liposomal anthracycline may allow for higher dosing with less cardiotoxicity in childhood AML patients.

Anthracyclines are chemotherapy drugs that are effective in treating acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in children, but the risk to these pediatric patients of developing heart problems later in life increases with the cumulative dose of the drug given. When first treating the disease, doctors try to use the highest possible chemotherapy dose in order to drive the cancer into remission. Yet, a potent regimen is tempered by concern about side effects.

A study that included 521 pediatric participants suggested that a liposomal formulation of the anthracycline daunorubicin may allow for higher dosing with less cardiotoxicity than standard induction therapy. By using a lipid-based form of the drug, doctors could intensify the amount of chemotherapy because of the way it is distributed in the body and the timeframe in which it remains in circulation and is exposed to heart tissue.