Nursing Implications of Mylotarg®: A Novel Antibody-Targeted Chemotherapy for CD33+Acute Myeloid Leukemia in First Relapse

Kathleen Shannon-Dorcy

ONF 2002, 29(4), E52-E59. DOI: 10.1188/02.ONF.E52-E59

Purpose/Objectives: To review the nursing implications of gemtuzumab ozogamicin (Mylotarg®, CMA-676, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Philadelphia, PA), a novel monoclonal antibody-targeted chemotherapy agent for relapsed acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Data Sources: Published articles, abstracts, book chapters, manufacturer information, unpublished clinical trial data, and personal experiences with gemtuzumab ozogamicin.

Data Synthesis: Conventional chemotherapy for AML is associated with toxicities that often limit treatment options when AML relapses. Gemtuzumab ozogamicin is a humanized recombinant anti-CD33 monoclonal antibody linked to calicheamicin, a potent cytotoxic agent. The antibody targets the CD33 antigen found on the surface of leukemic blast cells and myeloid precursors. This targeting effect reduces the toxicity of gemtuzumab ozogamicin. The efficacy and tolerability of gemtuzumab ozogamicin have been documented in relapsed AML, particularly in patients 60 years of age or older, who often have no other treatment options. As with other monoclonal antibody therapies, an "infusion syndrome" (i.e., fever and chills) may occur but can be managed effectively when administration guidelines are used.

Conclusions: Gemtuzumab ozogamicin is the first of a new class of targeted therapies for the treatment of relapsed AML. A number of implications for nurses exist.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses must be knowledgeable about gemtuzumab ozogamicin preparation and administration, patient selection and monitoring, and intervention procedures. This knowledge is necessary to accurately inform patients and their families of the possible course of treatment and potential side effects.

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