There is no good alternative therapy available for elderly patients with advanced myeloproliferative disorders (MPD) who failed on conventional therapies and are not candidates for bone marrow transplant. We report here an effective therapy that induced exceptionally long-lasting remissions and improved quality of life. Eighteen elderly patients (mean age: 70.6 years) (16 myelofibrosis and 2 thrombocythemia) who had failed on conventional therapies were treated. Danazol was administered daily at 200-800 mg throughout the study. Chemotherapy was applied intermittently as needed to reduce spleen size and blood counts. Busulfan (2-4 mg/day) was used most often and 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) (50-100 mg/day) and/ or cytarabine (100-200 mg/m 2) if the white blood cell (WBC) count rose rapidly. When MPD stabilized, chemotherapy was discontinued and dosage of danazol was reduced. Therapy was well tolerated. Overall, 61% of patients responded with unexpectedly long-lasting remissions and improved quality of life. Three (17%) had excellent (E) response, defined by normalization of blood counts and non-palpable spleen, while eight (44%) had good (G) response, defined by rise of Hct by ≥7% and ≥50% reduction of spleen. Mean duration of remission was 45 months (10-78 months) in E responders and 11 months in G responders (2-22 months). This regimen offers a safe and effective alternative for advanced MPD in the elderly.
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