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-α) maintenance, 28 patients in group B received standard treatment by a combination of low-dose cytarabine and IFN-α. 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-α maintenance therapy.

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Keywords Allogeneic stem cell transplantation, Chronic myeloid leukemia, Cytarabine, Cytogenetic response, Interferon alfa
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-006-0186-1, hdl.handle.net/1765/36524
Deenik, W, van der Holt, B, Verhoef, G.E.G, Schattenberg, A.V.M.B, Verdonck, L.F, Daenen, S.M.G.J, … Cornelissen, J.J. (2007). High-vs low-dose cytarabine combined with interferon alfa in patients with first chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia. A prospective randomized phase III study. Annals of Hematology, 86(2), 117–125. doi:10.1007/s00277-006-0186-1