The selective use of AMSA following high-dose cytarabine in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia in relapse: a Leukemia Intergroup Study
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This clinical trial was designed to evaluate the role of high-dose cytarabine (ara-C) in the treatment of adults with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in first relapse. We also tested the hypothesis that the selective use of AMSA (100 mg/m2/d on days 7, 8 and 9) would increase the complete remission (CR) rate when leukaemia cells remained in the bone marrow immediately following 6 d of Ara-C (2-3 g/m2/12 h) alone. Of 155 patients evaluable for response, 115 (74%) experienced marked cytoreduction by day 6 and received no further induction chemotherapy; 53 (45%) of these patients achieved CR after one course and 45 (38%) had resistant disease. The 36 patients (23%) with inadequate cytoreduction after the 6 d of ara-C alone were randomly assigned either to no further chemotherapy (21 patients) or to 3 d of AMSA (15 patients). The CR rates after one course were 14% and 53%, respectively (P = 0.01), and the fractions with resistant disease were 76% and 40%, respectively. The fractional reduction of leukaemia cells in the day 6 bone marrow aspirate specimen (P < 0.0001) and the reduction in the leukaemia cell mass measured in the day 6 marrow biopsy (P = 0.001) were the strongest predictors for achieving CR versus having residual disease in univariate analyses. The median duration of remission was 5 months, but seven patients (10%) remain in CR after 30-92 + months. Among the 140 patients who received only the 6 d of ara-C, the pretreatment albumin (P = 0.002) and lactate dehydrogenase (P = 0.01) levels were the strongest predictors of response in univariate analyses, but only the albumin remained significant (P = 0.01) in a stepwise logistic regression analysis. Those patients with albumin > 4.0 mg/dl and LDH < 125% of normal had a 71% CR rate, and only 16% had resistant disease. Thus, pretreatment characteristics and rapid cytoreductin in the day 6 bone marrow sample identified a favourable subset of patients with AML in first relapse, some of whom responded quite well to 6 d of ara-C alone and have had long disease-free remissions.
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