Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Best Pract Res Clin Haematol. 2007 Mar;20(1):57-65.

Treatment of relapsed or refractory acute promyelocytic leukemia.

Author information

  • 1Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, 676 N St. Clair Street, Suite 850, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


Current treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) usually includes an induction phase with all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and anthracycline-based chemotherapy, followed by a consolidation phase of anthracycline-based chemotherapy and maintenance therapy with ATRA with or without low-dose chemotherapy for 1-2 years. This treatment strategy results in a high complete remission (CR) rate of about 90% and an overall survival rate of 80%. About 5%-30% of patients relapse, mainly patients with high-risk APL. Relapse at extramedullary sites, which occurs in approximately 3%-5% of patients, is emerging as a new issue. Treatment of relapsed/advanced APL includes the use of arsenic trioxide (ATO), gemtuzumab ozogamicin, and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. ATO is currently the most effective therapeutic agent in relapsed APL. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is becoming a common strategy after achieving remission with ATO. Autologous transplant appears to have a more favorable outcome than allogeneic transplant in this setting, particularly when carried out during second remission, primarily because of significantly higher treatment-related mortality with allogeneic transplants. Allogeneic transplant, however, should be strongly considered for patients who remain molecularly positive. Future directions for APL therapy should include developing agents that can prevent relapse, particularly for high-risk patients. Other future treatment strategies may include use of ATO administered concomitantly or sequentially with chemotherapy, gemtuzumab or FLT-3 inhibitors that may obviate the need for autologous transplantation, and posttransplant maintenance perhaps with FLT-3 inhibitors.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk