Medline: 8394169

Leukemia and Lymphoma 9(4/5): 343-350, 1993.

Fludarabine and arabinosylcytosine therapy of refractory and relapsed acute myelogenous leukemia.

Estey E, Plunkett W, Gandhi V, et al.


There is a strong association between ability of leukemia blasts to accumulate ara-CTP, the active metabolite of ara-C, and response to ara-C in patients with relapsed or refractory AML. Ara-C dose rates in excess of 0.5 g/m2/h do not produce further ara-CTP formation. In contrast, when given 4 h prior to ara-C at this dose rate, fludarabine, at doses that are free of neurotoxicity in CLL, enhances ara-CTP accumulation. This led us to administer fludarabine and ara-C to 59 patients with AML in relapse or unresponsive to initial therapy. Fludarabine was given at 30 mg/m2 once daily for 5 doses and ara-C at 0.5 g/m2/h for 2-6 h daily for 6 doses. Doses of fludarabine preceded those of ara-C by 4 h. Results with fludarabine and ara-C (FA) were compared with those of patients treated at M.D. Anderson with high-dose ara-C (HDAC) or intermediate-dose ara-C (IDAC). The complete remission rate with FA was 21/59 (36%) and the actuarial median CR duration 39 weeks. FA produced significantly higher remission rates than HDAC or IDAC in patients with initial remissions > 1 yr (14/20 vs 9/23 vs 6/18, p < 0.05). Response rates were similar for all three treatments in patients with initial remissions < 1 yr or with primary refractory disease. The regimen was well tolerated; one patient developed peripheral neuropathy. This low level of toxicity encourages combination with other antileukemia agents.

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Dr. G. Quade