There are conflicting reports in the literature suggesting that one gender or the other has a better survival with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). The present study was done in an attempt to resolve the issue. The effect of gender was examined on 3546 newly diagnosed patients with AML, including 548 patients with acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) enrolled in 10 multi-institutional treatment studies from March 1984 to November 2008. Kaplan–Meier estimates were used to estimate event-time distributions for survival and multivariate models were used to examine the gender effect after adjusting for multiple risk factors. P values were based on two-sided tests. Non-APL female patients had a significantly better overall (OS) but not disease-free survival (DFS) than males, irrespective of age, initial white blood cell count, or dose of daunorubicin. No differences were observed for obese or FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3-internal tandem duplication (FLT3-ITD)-positive patients. Female patients with APL had a significantly better OS and DFS than male patients with APL, and differences in survival were greater for patients with t(15;17) + other cytogenetic abnormalities compared with those with t(15;17) only. Gender is an independent prognostic variable in patients with AML. Whether these survival differences are due to hormonal, genetic or pharmacokinetic differences between the sexes or differential toxin exposure such as smoking is unknown. However, the former seems less likely as patient age did not influence the survival advantage for female patients.
- acute myeloid leukaemia
- acute promyelocytic leukaemia
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