According to an article recently published in the journal Cancer, Dacogen™ (decitabine) provides significant anticancer activity in the treatment of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia.
Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) is considered to be a separate clinical entity, but possesses features of both myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and myeloproliferative disorders. CMML is a type of leukemia that is characterized by the abnormal production or maturation of immune cells. Patients with CMML ultimately suffer from low levels of red blood cells (anemia), low levels of platelets (which increase risk for bleeding), and an increase in immune cells that do not function properly.
Dacogen provides anticancer activity by disrupting cellular processes so that cancer cells stop growing. Although it is not currently approved for CMML, clinical trials are evaluating its effectiveness for the treatment of various cancers.
Researchers from M.D. Anderson recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate Dacogen in the treatment of CMML. This study included 19 patients with CMML; 14 participants were 60 years of age or older, and the oldest patient was 82 years. Ten of these patients had received no prior chemotherapy.
- 58% achieved a complete disappearance of detectable cancer.
- The median survival was 19 months.
The researchers concluded that Dacogen appears effective in the treatment of CMML. The researchers also stated that Dacogen may be used as therapy prior to an allogeneic stem cell transplant. Patients with CMML may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of participation in a clinical trial further evaluating Dacogen or other novel therapeutic agents.
Reference: Aribi A, Borthakur G, Ravandi F, et al. Activity of decitabine, a hypomethylating agent, in chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. Cancer. 2007;109:713-717.