Ann Hematol 2018 Oct 27;97(10):1797-1802. Epub 2018 Jun 27.
Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University Tor Vergata, via Montpellier,1, 00133, Rome, Italy.
Prolonged therapy with all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) and arsenic trioxide (ATO) is highly effective in newly diagnosed acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) but there is limited data on the efficacy of this regimen in the relapse setting. We report here on 22 APL patients treated with prolonged ATRA-ATO therapy at the time of disease relapse. Twenty patients obtained molecular complete remission (CRm) after 2 cycles (90%). Of these, two patients underwent hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) while the remaining proceeded to receive additional cycles (up to a total of 5) of ATRA-ATO. With a median follow-up of 58 months from the time of relapse (range: 21-128 months), the 4-year OS probability was 0.85 (95% CI 0.61-0.94), DFS was 0.74 (95% CI 0.49-0.88), and EFS 0.68 (95% CI 0.45-0.83). Two patients were resistant to ATRA-ATO salvage and five relapsed at a median of 19 months. Of these, four died due to progressive disease while three relapsed achieved a new CRm after further salvage therapy. This experience confirms the potentially curative effect of prolonged ATRA-ATO therapy in relapsed APL, especially in patients with long first complete remission.