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Blood. 1997 Aug 1;90(3):1014-21.

Molecular remission in PML/RAR alpha-positive acute promyelocytic leukemia by combined all-trans retinoic acid and idarubicin (AIDA) therapy. Gruppo Italiano-Malattie Ematologiche Maligne dell'Adulto and Associazione Italiana di Ematologia ed Oncologia Pediatrica Cooperative Groups.

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Ematologia, Dipartimento di Biotecnologie Cellulari ed Ematologia, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


Two hundred fifty-three patients with newly diagnosed acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) were eligible to enter the multicentric GIMEMA-AIEOP "AIDA" trial during the period July 1993 to February 1996. As a mandatory prerequisite for eligibility, all patients had genetic evidence of the specific t(15;17) lesion in their leukemic cells confirmed by karyotyping or by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) of the PML/RAR alpha fusion gene (the latter available in 247 cases). Median age was 37.8 years (range, 2.2 to 73.9). Induction treatment consisted of oral all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), 45 mg/m2/d until complete remission (CR), given with intravenous Idarubicin, 12 mg/m2/d on days 2, 4, 6, and 8. Three polychemotherapy cycles were given as consolidation. Hematologic and molecular response by RT-PCR was assessed after induction and after consolidation. At the time of analysis, 240 of the 253 eligible patients were evaluable for induction. Of these, 11 (5%) died of early complications and 229 (95%) achieved hematologic remission. No cases of resistant leukemia were observed. Of 139 cases studied by RT-PCR after induction, 84 (60.5%) were PCR-negative and 55 (39.5%) PCR-positive. One hundred sixty-two patients were evaluable by RT-PCR at the end of consolidation. Of these, 159 (98%) tested PCR-negative and 3 (2%), PCR-positive. After a median follow up of 12 months (range, 0 to 33), the estimated actuarial event-free survival for the whole series of 253 eligible patients was 83% +/- 2.6% and 79% +/- 3.2% at 1 and 2 years, respectively. This study indicates that the AIDA protocol is a well-tolerated regimen that induces molecular remission in almost all patients with PML/RAR alpha-positive APL. Preliminary survival data suggest that a remarkable cure rate can be obtained with this treatment.

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