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Treatment Option Overview

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    TKIs may be used in combination with other anticancer drugs as adjuvant therapy (treatment given after the initial treatment, to lower the risk that the cancer will come back).

    See Drugs Approved for Myeloproliferative Disorders for more information.

    Other drug therapy

    Lenalidomide may be used to lessen the need for transfusions in patients who have myelodysplastic syndromes caused by a specific chromosome change.

    Arsenic trioxide and all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) are anticancer drugs that kill leukemia cells, stop the leukemia cells from dividing, or help the leukemia cells mature into white blood cells. These drugs are used in the treatment of a subtype of AML called acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL).

    See Drugs Approved for Acute Myeloid Leukemia for more information.

    Watchful waiting

    Watchful waiting is closely monitoring a patient's condition without giving any treatment until symptoms appear or change. It is sometimes used to treat MDS or TMD.

    Supportive care

    Supportive care is given to lessen the problems caused by the disease or its treatment. Supportive care may include the following:

    • Transfusion therapy: A way of giving red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets to replace blood cells destroyed by disease or cancer treatment. The blood may be donated from another person or it may have been taken from the person earlier and stored until needed.
    • Drug therapy, such as antibiotics.
    • Leukapheresis: A procedure in which a special machine is used to remove white blood cells from the blood. Blood is taken from the patient and put through a blood cell separator where the white blood cells are removed. The rest of the blood is then returned to the patient's bloodstream.

    New types of treatment are being tested in clinical trials.

    This summary section describes treatments that are being studied in clinical trials. It may not mention every new treatment being studied. Information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

    Targeted therapy

    Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. Monoclonal antibodies, proteasome inhibitors, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and natural killer (NK) cells are types of targeted therapies being studied in the treatment of childhood AML.

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