Efficacy and Safety of Decitabine in Treatment of Elderly Patients With Acute Myeloid Leukemia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Oncotarget. 2017 Jun 20;8(25):41498-41507. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.17241.


Elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have limited treatment options concerned about their overall fitness and potential treatment related mortality. Although a number of clinical trials demonstrated benefits of decitabine treatment in elderly AML patients, the results remains controversial. A meta-analysis was performed to evaluate efficacy and safety of decitabine in treatment of elderly AML patients. Eligible studies were identified from PubMed, Web of Science, Embase and Cochrane Library. Nine published studies were included in the meta-analysis, enrolling 718 elderly AML patients. The efficacy outcomes were complete remission (CR), overall response rate (ORR) and overall survival (OS). Safety was evaluated based on treatment related grades 3-4 adverse events (AEs) and early death (ED) rate. Pooled estimates with 95% confidence interval (CI) for CR, ORR and OS were 27% (95% CI 19%-36%), 37% (95% CI 28%-47%) and 8.09 months (95% CI 5.77-10.41), respectively. The estimated treatment related early death (ED) incidences were within 30-days 7% (95% CI 2%-11%) and 60-days 17% (95% CI 11%-22%), respectively. Thrombocytopenia was the most common grades 3-4 AEs. Subgroup analyses of age, cytogenetics risk, AML type and bone marrow blast percentage showed no significant differences of treatment response to decitabine. In conclusion, decitabine is an effective and well-tolerated therapeutic alternative with acceptable side effects in elderly AML patients.

Keywords: acute myeloid leukemia (AML); decitabine; elderly patient; meta-analysis; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use*
  • Azacitidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Azacitidine / therapeutic use
  • Decitabine
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / drug therapy*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / pathology
  • Male


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Decitabine
  • Azacitidine