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J Clin Oncol. 2006 Jun 1;24(16):2456-64. Epub 2006 May 1.

Phase II multicenter study of arsenic trioxide in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes.

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UCLA Division of Hematology-Oncology, University of California Los Angeles, San Diego, CA 90095, USA.



To evaluate the efficacy and safety of arsenic trioxide monotherapy in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).


Patients received arsenic trioxide (0.25 mg/kg/d) on 5 consecutive days per week for 2 weeks, followed by 2 weeks' rest (one cycle). Two patient cohorts were established according to International Prognostic Scoring System risk category: lower-risk (low or intermediate-1) or higher-risk MDS (intermediate-2 or high). For lower-risk MDS, hematologic improvement (HI) was the primary response end point. For higher-risk MDS, additional end points included complete or partial remission. Based on the expected time to response, patients receiving two or more cycles were prospectively evaluated.


Hematologic adverse events included neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and febrile neutropenia. Two patients died during the study due to treatment-related toxicities. Most common grade 3/4 nonhematologic events were pneumonia, fatigue, hemorrhage, pain, and dyspnea. Among patients who received one or more doses (n = 70) or completed two or more cycles (n = 51), the HI rates were 34% and 39% in lower-risk patients, and 6% and 9% in higher-risk patients, respectively; the overall major HI rates were 20% and 22%. One higher-risk patient achieved a complete remission (3%). Major HIs were observed in all hematologic lineages; erythroid responses were the most common. Transfusion independence or reduction by > or = 50% occurred in 33% of patients dependent on RBC transfusions. The overall median duration of HI was 6.8 months (range, 2 to 40 months).


Arsenic trioxide monotherapy has moderate activity against MDS, with a manageable adverse effect profile. The further study of arsenic trioxide in MDS, particularly in combination with other agents, is warranted.

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