Acute Myeloid Leukemia

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Approximately 13,290 people will be diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 2008, and 8820 patients will die of the disease. As the population ages, the incidence of AML, along with myelodysplasia, appears to be rising. Clinical trials have led to significant treatment improvements in some areas, primarily acute promyelocytic leukemia. However, recent large clinical trials have highlighted the need for new, innovative strategies, because outcomes for AML patients have not substantially changed in the past 3 decades. The NCCN AML Panel has focused on outlining reasonable treatment options based on recent clinical trials and data from basic science, which may identify new risk factors and treatment approaches. These guidelines attempt to provide a rationale for including several treatment options in some categories, as divergent opinions about the relative risks and benefits of various treatment options have surfaced. Updates for 2009 include new clarifications of some treatment recommendations as well as for defining polymerase chain reaction positivity.

For the most recent version of the guidelines, please visit NCCN.org

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Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (www.vicc.org or 800-811-8480), based in Nashville, Tennessee, is one of a select few National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the southeastern United States and the only one in Tennessee that conducts research and provides clinical care for the full range of cancers in adults and children.

Established in 1993, Vanderbilt-Ingram brings together the cancer-related research, clinical care, education, prevention, and outreach activities at Vanderbilt University and Medical Center. Its nearly 300 faculty members in 7 research programs generate more than $140 million in total federal grant support. In 2007, Vanderbilt-Ingram ranked seventh in the nation in competitive grant funding from the National Cancer Institute ($66 million).

The center focuses its efforts on high-impact basic and translational research and high-quality multidisciplinary care, with particularly strong programs in experimental therapeutics and lung, gastrointestinal, breast, head and neck, melanoma, pediatric, and hematologic malignancies. Its 3 Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (in lung, gastrointestinal, and breast cancers) have recently been renewed with review scores among the best in the country. The center is also known for its population-based research program, particularly the Southern Community Cohort Study, a historic initiative that is on track to enroll 90,000 residents of the Southeast, two-thirds of them African American, with a goal of understanding and addressing why southerners and African Americans face a greater burden from cancer than other groups.

Led by Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD (second photo on the cover), as its director, Vanderbilt-Ingram is a major cancer referral center for the southeast, with more than 4,000 new cancer patients entered into its cancer registry each year. Its Henry-Joyce Cancer Clinic is undergoing a major renovation and expansion that will double the outpatient capacity when completed in late 2009. Its Breast Center will expand early in 2009 with a new facility as part of Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks, which is transforming Nashville's first enclosed shopping mall into a state-of-the-art health and wellness center (see www.vanderbilthealth.com/100oaks).

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