Survival in children with relapsed/refractory a cute myeloid leukemia is unsatisfactory. Treatment consists of one course of fludarabine, cytarabine and liposomal daunorubicin, followed by fludarabine and cytarabine and stem-cell transplantation. Study ITCC 020/I-BFM 2009-02 aimed to identify the recommended phase II dose of clofarabine replacing fludarabine in the abovementioned combination regimen (3+3 design). Escalating dose levels of clofarabine (20-40 mg/m2/day x 5 days) and liposomal daunorubicin (40-80 mg/m2/day) were administered with cytarabine (2 g/m2/day x 5 days). Liposomal DNR was given on day 1, 3 and 5 only. The cohort at the recommended phase II dose was expanded to make a preliminary assessment of anti-leukemic activity. Thirty-four children were enrolled: refractory 1st (n=11), early 1st (n=15), ≥2nd relapse (n=8). Dose level 3 (30 mg/m2 clofarabine; 60 mg/m2 liposomal daunorubicin) appeared to be safe only in patients without subclinical fungal infections. Infectious complications were dose-limiting. The recommended phase II dose was 40 mg/m2 clofarabine with 60 mg/m2 liposomal daunorubicin. Side-effects mainly consisted of infections. The overall response rate was 68% in 31 response evaluable patients, and 80% at the recommended phase II dose (n=10); 22 patients proceeded to stem cell transplantation. The 2-year probability of event-free survival (pEFS) was 26.5±7.6 and probability of survival (pOS) 32.4±8.0%. In the 21 responding patients, the 2-year pEFS was 42.9±10.8 and pOS 47.6±10.9%. Clofarabine expo-sure in plasma was not significantly different from that in single-agent studies. In conclusion, clofarabine was well tolerated and showed high response rates in relapsed/refractory pediatric acute myeloid leukemia. Patients with (sub)clinical fungal infections should be treated with caution. Clofarabine has been taken forward in the Berlin-Frankfurt-Münster study for newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia. The Study ITCC-020 was registered as EUDRA-CT 2009-009457-13; Dutch Trial Registry number 1880.

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Journal Haematologica
Van Eijkelenburg, N.K.A. (Natasha K. A.), Rasche, M. (Mareike), Ghazaly, E. (Essam), Dworzak, M.N, Klingebiel, T, Rossig, C. (Claudia), … Zwaan, C.M. (2018). Clofarabine, high-dose cytarabine and liposomal daunorubicin in pediatric relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia: A phase IB study. Haematologica, 103(9), 1484–1492. doi:10.3324/haematol.2017.187153