Medline: 3469002

Blood 69(3): 744-749, 1987.

High-dose cytosine arabinoside and mitoxantrone: a highly effective regimen in refractory acute myeloid leukemia.

Hiddemann W, Kreutzmann H, Straif K, et al.


In a clinical phase I/II study, high-dose cytosine arabinoside and mitoxantrone (HAM) were given in combination to 40 patients with refractory acute myeloid leukemia. All patients had received a 9-day combination of thioguanine, Ara-C, and daunorubicin (TAD-9) as standardized first-line treatment. Refractoriness was defined as (a) nonresponse against two TAD-9 induction cycles, (b) early relapse within the first 6 months on monthly maintenance or after TAD-9 consolidation, (c) relapse after 6 months with nonresponse against one additional TAD-9 cycle, and (d) second and subsequent relapses after successful TAD-9 therapy at the preceding relapse. Therapy consisted of HD-Ara-C 3 g/m2 every 12 hours on days 1 through 4; mitoxantrone was started at 12 mg/m2/day on days 3, 4, and 5 and was escalated to 4 and 5 doses of 10 mg/m2/day on days 2 through 5 and 2 through 6. Of the 40 patients, 21 achieved a complete remission (53%), 1 patient had a partial remission, and 5 patients were nonresponders. Thirteen patients died in aplasia due to infections (n = 11), pericardiac effusion, or acute cardiomyopathy. Nonhematologic side effects consisted predominantly of nausea and vomiting, mucositis, and diarrhea. Central nervous system (CNS) symptoms were observed during six treatment courses. Recovery of blood counts occurred at a median of 27 days from the onset of treatment; the median time to complete remission was 36 days. Two of the 21 responders underwent successful bone marrow transplantations. The median remission duration for the remaining 19 patients is 4.5 months, and the median survival time is 9 months. These data emphasize that HAM has high antileukemic activity in refractory AML and strongly suggest starting the combination at earlier stages in AML therapy.

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