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January 1976

Acute Granulocytic Leukemia in the Elderly

Arch Intern Med. 1976;136(1):120. doi:10.1001/archinte.1976.03630010098025

To the Editor.—  Dr Crosby's editorial statement that "when acute granulocytic leukemia occurs in patients over 50, chemotherapy does not produce remissions"1 is at variance with our experience (Acute Leukemia Group B [ALGB]: Meeting minutes, Dec 4-6, 1974, protocol 7221) and that of others.2-6 Although we agree with Dr Crosby that "the duty of the therapist is to the patient, not to his blood cell counts. We treat people, not diseases...,"7 we do not subscribe to his intractable pessimism and gloominess that is exemplified by his assertion that "with the therapeutic agents we have today, there is no hope of cure."7Several groups of investigators,2-6 including ourselves, have reported favorable results with combination chemotherapy in acute granulocytic leukemia in elderly patients (Table). Between 1967 and 1971, we (ALGB) treated 451 patients with acute granulocytic leukemia who were more than 60 years of age. Twenty percent

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