CASE REPORT: Herein is an acute promyelocytic leukemia case of a 22-year-old young pregnant woman who had various social problems. The patient was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia in her the second trimester of her first pregnancy.Management and outcome: She was treated with all-trans-retinoic acid with idarubicin and successfully delivered a healthy baby. She completed induction with idarubicin but defaulted her all-trans-retinoic acid, 6-mercaptopurine and methotrexate maintenance. She relapsed after one year and was salvaged with all-trans-retinoic acid high dose cytarabine and arsenic trioxide. She went into remission and had autologous stem cells collected and was planned for an autologous stem cell transplant but she defaulted. She relapsed when she was pregnant with her second baby during her third trimester (29+weeks) 10 months later. Salvage chemotherapy with arsenic trioxide, all-trans-retinoic acid and idarubicin was given. Patient underwent an emergency lower segment caesarian section at 31 weeks of pregnancy due to abnormal fetal cardiotocography. A healthy baby was delivered.
DISCUSSION: This drug regimen is controversial during pregnancy owing to the teratogenic effects and fatal retinoic acid syndrome especially in early gestation. In this case, patient was started the induction therapy of all-trans-retinoic acid treatment at her second trimester during her first pregnancy.
CONCLUSION: Our lady demonstrated the possibility of using all-trans-retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide and chemotherapy during second and third trimester with successful pregnancy outcomes.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to assess the willingness to accept chemotherapy among elderly Malaysians.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, patients aged 60 and above from various clinics/wards were recruited. Those giving consent were interviewed using a questionnaire.
RESULTS: A total of 75 patients were recruited, 35 patients (47%) with a history of cancer. The median age was 73 years old. There were 29 Chinese (38.7%), 22 Indian (29.3%), 20 Malay (26.7%) and four other ethnicity patients. Some 83% and 73% of patients willing to accept strong and mild chemotherapy, respectively. Patients with cancer were more willing to accept strong and mild chemotherapy compared to the non-cancer group (88.6% vs 62.5%, P=0.005, 94% vs 80%, P=0.068). On sub-analysis, 71.4% and 42.9% of Chinese patients without a history of cancer were not willing to receive strong and mild chemotherapy, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of elderly patients in UMMC were willing to receive chemotherapy if they had cancer. Experience with previous treatment had positive influence on the willingness to undergo chemotherapy.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This retrospective study examined NPC patients between 1st January 2001 and 31st December 2005 in Penang General Hospital. Survival analyses were performed using the Kaplan-Meier method and comparisons between groups were made using the log-rank test. Important prognostic factors including patient demographics, tumour and treatment factors were analysed using the Cox proportional hazard model.
RESULTS: A total of 285 patients were identified with a median age of 51 years, 72.6% being males. The majority were Chinese (66%) followed by Malays (31.9%). Primary tumour stages (T stages) 3 and 4 were present in 18.6% and 34% of patients respectively, and nodal disease was present in 80.4%. On overall AJCC staging, 29.1% had stage III and 50.2% had stage IV disease. Some 39.6% of patients had WHO type 3 histology and 7.4% had WHO type 1-2 histology with the remainder having NPC with no subtype reported. Concurrent chemo-irradiation was the commonest treatment received by patients (51.9%) followed by radiotherapy alone (41.8%). The 5 year overall survival and cause specific survival were 33.3% and 42.7% respectively. Age group, T stage, N stage and WHO histological subtype were independent prognostic factors for overall survival on multivariate analysis. For cause specific survival they were T stage and N stage.
CONCLUSION: The 5 years overall survival rate was 33.3%. This low figure is primarily due to late presentation. Efforts to detect NPC at earlier stages in Malaysia are urgently needed. These should include public education to increase awareness of the prevalence of this highly treatable disease.