High-vs low-dose cytarabine combined with interferon alfa in patients with first chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia. A prospective randomized phase III study.

Research paper by W W Deenik, B B van der Holt, G E G GE Verhoef, A V M B AV Schattenberg, L F LF Verdonck, S M G J SM Daenen, P P Zachée, P H M PH Westveer, W M WM Smit, S S Wittebol, H C HC Schouten, B B Löwenberg, G J GJ Ossenkoppele, J J JJ Cornelissen

Indexed on: 13 Oct '06Published on: 13 Oct '06Published in: Annals of Hematology


A prospective randomized phase III study was performed to evaluate whether intensified cytarabine would induce a higher response rate and longer event-free interval as compared to low-dose cytarabine in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). One hundred and eighteen patients with CML in early chronic phase entered the study. Twenty-eight out of 32 patients assigned to group A received two cycles of a combination of intensified cytarabine and idarubicin followed by interferon alfa (IFN-alpha) maintenance, 28 patients in group B received standard treatment by a combination of low-dose cytarabine and IFN-alpha. Forty-nine patients with a human leukocyte antigen-identical sibling donor proceeded to allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) and nine patients were excluded from the analysis. Hematological response was observed in 97% of the patients in group A vs 86% of the patients in group B during the first year of treatment. In group A, 16 patients (50%) achieved a major cytogenetic response, which compared to seven patients (25%) with a major cytogenetic response in group B. With a median follow-up of 58 months (range 34-76), event-free survival was not significantly different between arms A and B. The estimated 5-year survival rate was 56% in the intensified arm and 77% in the low-dose arm (P = 0.05). Recipients of allo-SCT showed a 5-year estimated survival rate of 55%. Although intensified cytarabine induced a higher initial percentage of major and complete cytogenetic responses, responses were not sustained by IFN-alpha maintenance therapy.