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Double induction strategy for acute myeloid leukemia: the effect of high-dose cytarabine with mitoxantrone instead of standard-dose cytarabine with daunorubicin and 6-thioguanine: a randomized trial by the German AML Cooperative Group.

Author(s): Buchner T, Hiddemann W, Wormann B, Loffler H, Gassmann W, Haferlach T, Fonatsch C, Haase D, Schoch C, Hossfeld D, Lengfelder E, Aul C, Heyll A, Maschmeyer G, Ludwig WD, Sauerland MC, Heinecke A

Affiliation(s): Departments of Hematology/Oncology and of Biostatistics, University of Munster, Munster, Germany.

Publication date & source: 1999-06-15, Blood., 93(12):4116-24.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

Early intensification of chemotherapy with high-dose cytarabine either in the postremission or remission induction phase has recently been shown to improve long-term relapse-free survival (RFS) in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Comparable results have been produced with the double induction strategy. The present trial evaluated the contribution of high-dose versus standard-dose cytarabine to this strategy. Between March 1985 and November 1992, 725 eligible patients 16 to 60 years of age with newly diagnosed primary AML entered the trial. Before treatment started, patients were randomized between two versions of double induction: 2 courses of standard-dose cytarabine (ara-C) with daunorubicin and 6-thioguanine (TAD) were compared with 1 course of TAD followed by high-dose cytarabine (3 g/m2 every 12 hours for 6 times) with mitoxantrone (HAM). Second courses started on day 21 before remission criteria were reached, regardless of the presence or absence of blast cells in the bone marrow. Patients in remission received consolidation by TAD and monthly maintenance with reduced TAD courses for 3 years. The complete remission (CR) rate in the TAD-TAD compared with the TAD-HAM arm was 65% versus 71% (not significant [NS]), and the early and hypoplastic death rate was 18% versus 14% (NS). The corresponding RFS after 5 years was 29% versus 35% (NS). An explorative analysis identified a subgroup of 286 patients with a poor prognosis representing 39% of the entire population; they included patients with more than 40% residual blasts in the day-16 bone marrow, patients with unfavorable karyotype, and those with high levels of serum lactate dehydrogenase. Their CR rate was 65% versus 49% (p =.004) in favor of TAD-HAM and was associated with a superior event-free survival (median, 7 v 3 months; 5 years, 17% v 12%; P =.012) and overall survival (median, 13 v 8 months; 5 years, 24% v 18%; P =.009). This suggests that the incorporation of high-dose cytarabine with mitoxantrone may contribute a specific benefit to poor-risk patients that, however, requires further substantiation. Double induction, followed by consolidation and maintenance, proved a safe and effective strategy and a new way of delivering early intensification treatment for AML.

Page last updated: 2006-01-31

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