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Blood. 2004 Sep 1;104(5):1266-9. Epub 2004 May 20.

Treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes with valproic acid alone or in combination with all-trans retinoic acid.

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  • 1Department of Hematology, Oncology, and Clinical Immunology, Heinrich-Heine-University, Moorenstrasse 5, D-40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.


Valproic acid (VPA) has been shown to inhibit histone deacetylase activity and to synergize with all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) in the differentiation induction of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) blasts in vitro. We treated 18 patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and AML secondary to MDS (sAML/MDS) with VPA monotherapy (serum concentrations 346-693 microM [50-100 microg/mL]). Five patients received VPA and ATRA (80 mg/m(2)/d, days 1-7, every other week). Response according to international working group (IWG) criteria was observed in 8 patients (44%) on VPA monotherapy, including 1 partial remission. Median response duration was 4 months (range, 3-9 months). Four of 5 patients relapsing were treated with VPA + ATRA, 2 of them responding again. Among 5 patients receiving VPA + ATRA from the start, none responded according to IWG criteria, but 1 patient with sAML/MDS achieved a marked reduction in peripheral and marrow blasts. Thus, VPA is of therapeutic benefit for patients with MDS, and ATRA may be effective when added later.

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