Amending the Global Gap in Acute Myeloid Leukemia Data

Dr. Molly Tokaz and Dr. Lisa Force discuss the extensive data they collected on the utilization of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for patients with AML.

A global analysis on the utilization of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for patients with acute myeloid luekemia (AML) found that the therapy continues to be the cornerstone of curative treatment for this population. The international use is growing, but investigators discovered notable variation in regional utilization and practice.

Because of the financial and logistical challenges of launching a transplant program the findings weren't entirely unexpected for lead investigator Molly Tokaz, MD, Senior Research Fellow, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.

"Something that was disappointing was how low transplantation was globally for AML, as this very deadly disease," she said. "This is our main curative option."

While the investigation revealed global areas in which progress is still needed to improve accessibility of HSCT, the information obtained from the data was pivotal in its own principal.

"There aren't surveillance systems for detecting, or reporting cancer everywhere in the world," study investigator, Lisa Force, MD, MPH, explained. "Cancer registration systems are really critical and valuable, but do take appropriate staffing and budget and training and time investment."

As the Team Lead of Global Burden of Disease Study at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), Force is dedicated to improving resource allocation by aiming to provide insight that will aid policymakers with informed decisions. Without reports on the number of cancer cases, these populations fail to be represented when it comes to policy, she explained.

"The Global Burden of Disease Study is trying to fill in the gaps where that data doesn't exist and be able to provide—on the whole for some settings that don't have that information—the best estimates, with appropriate uncertainty, that we can put together of how many people we think are developing AML in those settings, whether or not they're being captured," Force said.

Watch more of HCPLive's interview with Dr. Molly Tokaz and Dr. Lisa Force for additional details of the investigation.