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Cancer. 1985 Jan 1;55(1):18-25.

Acute promyelocytic leukemia in 57 previously untreated patients.


Fifty-seven patients in initial phase of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) were treated in the same department with heparin infusion, platelet transfusions, and two related induction regimens both including cytosine arabinoside and daunorubicin. Clinical and biological findings at presentation were studied. The complete remission (CR) rate was 53%. Twenty-seven patients (47%) died during the initial course of the disease, either before day 5 (early death [ED], n = 7) or after day 5 (death in aplasia [DA], n = 20). Most ED was due to intracerebral hemorrhage (6/7), especially when large hemorrhages had been seen on fundus oculi examination. Most DA was due to multivisceral failure (9/20). No correlation was found between initial disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) and death. However, the worsening of coagulation parameters during induction therapy, with or without initial DIC, significantly increased the occurrence of renal and respiratory failure which were particularly frequent during the first month. The median duration of survival was short (3.5 months) and the median duration of CR (11 months) was similar to that of other acute myeloid leukemias treated with the same regimens. The possible causes of the high mortality observed during the initial courses of APL and the possible benefit of a more graduate induction chemotherapy are discussed.

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