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Treatment outcomes in relapsed acute promyelocytic leukemia patients initially treated with all-trans retinoic acid and arsenic compound-based combined therapies

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      Abstract

      Contemporary combined therapies that include the use of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and arsenic compounds have reduced relapse rates from ~50 to <10% in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) patients, however relapse treatment remains controversial. Treatment outcomes in relapsed patients with APL previously treated with combined ATRA + arsenic compound therapy were investigated. A retrospective, observational study was conducted of 25 patients with APL (male to female ratio, 17:8; mean age, 36.4±10.3 years) exhibiting first-time relapse following combined ATRA + arsenic compound therapy. These patients were subsequently treated with secondary ATRA + arsenic compound therapy, salvage chemotherapy, monoclonal antibody therapy or intrathecal chemotherapy, between January 1994 and December 2010. The overall remission rate, duration of remission and toxic effects were assessed. Patient outcomes included mortality during secondary induction therapy (6/25, 24.0%); complete recovery from central nervous system (CNS) relapse following intrathecal chemotherapy (1/25, 4.0%); complete remission following ATRA + arsenic compound therapy (10/25, 40.0%), chemotherapy (3/25, 12.0%) and targeted therapy (1/25, 4.0%); and non-remission (NR) following ATRA + arsenic compound therapy (4/25, 16%). Four (16.0%) patients were subsequently treated with allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT), two of which remained disease-free at the end of the study period and two of which succumbed to the disease. Secondary bone marrow and CNS relapse occurred in 14 (56.0%) patients and one (4.0%) patient, respectively. ATRA + arsenic compound-based combination therapy was effective in re-inducing morphological remission in relapsed patients with APL with previous exposure to ATRA + arsenic compounds, producing low molecular remission rates and high risk of secondary relapse. Furthermore, investigation of early allo-HSCT is required to determine its potential as a therapeutic option for re-inducing morphological remission in relapsed patients with APL with previous exposure to ATRA + arsenic compounds.

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      Most cited references 26

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      Management of acute promyelocytic leukemia: recommendations from an expert panel on behalf of the European LeukemiaNet.

      The introduction of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and, more recently, arsenic trioxide (ATO) into the therapy of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) has revolutionized the management and outcome of this disease. Several treatment strategies using these agents, usually in combination with chemotherapy, but also without or with minimal use of cytotoxic agents, have provided excellent therapeutic results. Cure of APL patients, however, is also dependent on peculiar aspects related to the management and supportive measures that are crucial to counteract life-threatening complications associated with the disease biology and molecularly targeted treatment. The European LeukemiaNet recently appointed an international panel of experts to develop evidence- and expert opinion-based guidelines on the diagnosis and management of APL. Together with providing current indications on genetic diagnosis, modern risk-adapted front-line therapy and salvage treatment, the review contains specific recommendations for the identification and management of most important complications such as the bleeding disorder, APL differentiation syndrome, QT prolongation and other ATRA- and ATO-related toxicities, as well as for molecular assessment of response to treatment. Finally, the approach to special situations is also discussed, including management of APL in children, elderly patients, and pregnant women.
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        The t(15;17) translocation of acute promyelocytic leukaemia fuses the retinoic acid receptor alpha gene to a novel transcribed locus.

        Retinoic acid is a vitamin A derivative with striking effects on development and cell differentiation. Several nuclear retinoic acid receptors (RARs), acting as ligand-inducible transcription factors, have been characterized and indirect evidence suggests that they have distinct roles. One of the most intriguing properties of retinoic acid is its ability to induce in vivo differentiation of acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) cells into mature granulocytes, leading to morphological complete remissions. Because the RAR alpha gene maps to chromosome 17q21 (ref. 14), close to the t(15;17) (q21-q11-22) translocation specifically associated with APL, we analysed RAR alpha gene structure and expression in APL cells. We report here that, in one APL-derived cell line, the RAR alpha gene has been translocated to a locus, myl, on chromosome 15, resulting in the synthesis of a myl/RAR alpha fusion messenger RNA. Using two probes located on either side of the cloned breakpoint, we have found genomic rearrangements of one or other locus in six patients out of eight, demonstrating that the RAR alpha and/or myl genes are frequently rearranged in APL and the breakpoints are clustered. These findings strongly implicate retinoic acid receptor alpha in leukaemogenesis.
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          Front-line treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia with AIDA induction followed by risk-adapted consolidation for adults younger than 61 years: results of the AIDA-2000 trial of the GIMEMA Group.

          After the identification of discrete relapse-risk categories in patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) receiving all-trans retinoic and idarubicin (AIDA)-like therapies, the Gruppo Italiano Malattie Ematologiche dell'Adulto (GIMEMA) designed a protocol for newly diagnosed APL (AIDA-2000) in which postremission treatment was risk-adapted. Patients with low/intermediate risk received remission at 3 anthracycline-based consolidation courses, whereas high-risk patients received the same schedule as in the previous, non-risk-adapted AIDA-0493 trial including cytarabine. In addition, all patients in the AIDA-2000 received all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) for 15 days during each consolidation. After induction, 600 of 636 (94.3%) and 420 of 445 (94.4%) patients achieved complete remission in the AIDA-0493 and AIDA-2000, respectively. The 6-year overall survival and cumulative incidence of relapse (CIR) rates were 78.1% versus 87.4% (P = .001) and 27.7% versus 10.7% (P < .0001). Significantly lower CIR rates for patients in the AIDA-2000 were most evident in the high-risk group (49.7% vs 9.3%, respectively, P < .0001). Our data confirm that anthracycline-based consolidation is at least equally effective as cytarabine-containing regimens for low-/intermediate-risk patients and suggest that a risk-adapted strategy including ATRA for consolidation improves outcome in newly diagnosed APL. Furthermore, our results highlight the role of cytarabine coupled to anthracyclines and ATRA during consolidation in the high-risk group.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Institute of Hematology, Peking University People’s Hospital, Beijing 100044, P.R. China
            Author notes
            Correspondence to: Dr Xiaojun Huang, Institute of Hematology, Peking University People’s Hospital, 11 Xizhimenwai Street, Beijing 100044, P.R. China, E-mail: xjhrm2012@123456126.com
            Journal
            Oncol Lett
            Oncol Lett
            OL
            Oncology Letters
            D.A. Spandidos
            1792-1074
            1792-1082
            January 2014
            25 October 2013
            25 October 2013
            : 7
            : 1
            : 177-182
            3861585
            10.3892/ol.2013.1643
            ol-07-01-0177
            Copyright © 2014, Spandidos Publications

            This is an open-access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. The article may be redistributed, reproduced, and reused for non-commercial purposes, provided the original source is properly cited.

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