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Blood. 2007 Jul 1;110(1):59-66. Epub 2007 Mar 20.

A randomized study with or without intensified maintenance chemotherapy in patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia who have become negative for PML-RARalpha transcript after consolidation therapy: the Japan Adult Leukemia Study Group (JALSG) APL97 study.

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Department of Hematology, Kumamoto University School of Medicine, Kumamoto, Japan.


To examine the efficacy of intensified maintenance chemotherapy, we conducted a prospective multicenter trial in adult patients with newly diagnosed acute promyelocytic leukemia treated with all-trans retinoic acid and chemotherapy. Of the 302 registered, 283 patients were assessable and 267 (94%) achieved complete remission. Predicted 6-year overall survival in all assessable patients and disease-free survival in patients who achieved complete remission were 83.9% and 68.5%, respectively. A total of 175 patients negative for PML-RARalpha at the end of consolidation were randomly assigned to receive either intensified maintenance chemotherapy (n = 89) or observation (n = 86). Predicted 6-year disease-free survival was 79.8% for the observation group and 63.1% for the chemotherapy group, showing no statistically significant difference between the 2 groups (P = .20). Predicted 6-year survival of patients assigned to the observation was 98.8%, which was significantly higher than 86.2% in those allocated to the intensified maintenance (P = .014). These results indicate that the intensified maintenance chemotherapy did not improve disease-free survival, but rather conferred a significantly poorer chance of survival in acute promyelocytic leukemia patients who have become negative for the PML-RARalpha fusion transcript after 3 courses of intensive consolidation therapy.

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