Medline: 7808487

The abstract and fulltext New England Journal of Medicine 332(4): 217-223, 1995. is available online.

Autologous or allogeneic bone marrow transplantation compared with intensive chemotherapy in acute myelogenous leukemia.

Zittoun RA, Mandelli F, Willemze R, et al.


Allogeneic or autologous bone marrow transplantation and intensive consolidation chemotherapy are used to treat acute myelogenous leukemia in a first complete remission.

After induction treatment with daunorubicin and cytarabine, patients who had a complete remission received a first course of intensive consolidation chemotherapy, combining intermediate-dose cytarabine and amsacrine. Patients with an HLA-identical sibling were assigned to undergo allogeneic bone marrow transplantation; the others were randomly assigned to undergo autologous bone marrow transplantation (with unpurged bone marrow) or a second course of intensive chemotherapy, combining high-dose cytarabine and daunorubicin. Comparisons were made on the basis of the intention to treat.

A total of 623 patients had a complete remission; 168 were assigned to undergo allogeneic bone marrow transplantation, and 254 were randomly assigned to one of the other two groups. Of these patients, 343 completed the treatment assignment: 144 in the allogeneic-transplantation group, 95 in the autologous-transplantation group, and 104 in the intensive-chemotherapy group. The relapse rate was highest in the intensive-chemotherapy group and lowest in the allogeneic-transplantation group, whereas the mortality rate was highest after allogeneic transplantation and lowest after intensive chemotherapy. The projected rate of disease-free survival at four years was 55 percent for allogeneic transplantation, 48 percent for autologous transplantation, and 30 percent for intensive chemotherapy. However, the overall survival after complete remission was similar in the three groups, since more patients who relapsed after a second course of intensive chemotherapy had a response to subsequent autologous bone marrow transplantation. Other differences were also observed, especially with regard to hematopoietic recovery (it occurred later after autologous transplantation) and the duration of hospitalization (it was longer with bone marrow transplantation).

Autologous as well as allogeneic bone marrow transplantation results in better disease-free survival than intensive consolidation chemotherapy with high-dose cytarabine and daunorubicin. Transplantation soon after a relapse or during a second complete remission might also be appropriate.

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