What are the three phases of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) therapy for patients? In the “What Are the Phases of AML Therapy?” program, expert Dr. Eytan Stein from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center shares insight about the three phases of induction therapy, consolidation therapy, and maintenance therapy.
1. Induction Therapy
The AML therapy phase of induction therapy is also referred to as induction chemotherapy. In this phase of therapy, AML patients can expect to receive an extremely intensive chemotherapy that they’ll need a hospital stay to receive. Even though the typical hospital stay is approximately three to four weeks, the portion of time that patients will receive the chemotherapy itself is about one week. Patients can expect to spend about another two to three weeks in the hospital as recovery from the effects of receiving the intensive chemotherapy to become well enough to return to life at home.
2. Consolidation Therapy
After the phase of induction therapy, a phase called consolidation therapy will follow for AML patients. Complete remission, or absence of disease, doesn’t always happen for all patients. So the proactive phase of induction therapy is carried out in case AML was still in a patient’s body where it couldn’t be located in bone marrow biopsies. Consolidation chemotherapy will kill any leukemia cells that remain in the body and will create a deeper remission for AML patients.
3. Maintenance Therapy
After AML patients have received induction therapy followed by consolidation therapy, another therapy called maintenance therapy will be used to further protect them against relapse. Maintenance therapy has been used in both multiple myeloma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients for a substantial period of time. The use of maintenance therapy for AML patients started within the last one or two years, and the approach of maintenance therapy is to use a reasonably non-toxic therapy that can be taken by patients over a sustained period of time to safeguard their health.
Treatment for AML follows an established order of phases of induction therapy, consolidation therapy, and maintenance therapy for optimal patient health over the long term. If you want to learn more about AML care and treatments, check out our AML information.