The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new drug for a deadly type of leukemia linked to workplace exposure of benzene.
Pfizer Inc.’s Daurismo, which contains the active ingredient glasdegib, is a daily, oral medication for newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, in adults 75 years of age or older who are unable to be treated with intensive induction chemotherapy. Daurismo is taken in combination with a low-dose of the chemotherapy cytarabine (LDAC). It is also the first and only FDA-approved Hedgehog pathway inhibitor for AML.
AML is a rapidly progressing bone marrow cancer that has a poorer prognosis compared to other leukemias. Most patients with AML are treated with intensive chemotherapy. But many elderly patients with the disease have comorbidities that make them unable to tolerate this aggressive type of regime. As a result, many older AML patients do not receive treatment and face a poor prognosis. Daurismo offers a treatment option to these patients.
There are several risk factors that can increase a person’s chance of developing AML, including older age, being male, smoking, being treated with certain chemotherapy drugs or exposed to radiation, or having a genetic or blood disorder. But according to the American Cancer Society, long-term exposure to certain chemicals including benzene can put people at increased risk of developing this aggressive form of leukemia.
Benzene is a solvent used in the rubber industry, oil refineries, chemical plants, shoe manufacturing, and gasoline-related industries. People who worked in these industries who developed AML even several years later may have been exposed to benzene in the workplace and could have a case against their employer.
American Cancer Society