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Blood. 1997 Oct 15;90(8):2952-61.

Use of recombinant GM-CSF during and after remission induction chemotherapy in patients aged 61 years and older with acute myeloid leukemia: final report of AML-11, a phase III randomized study of the Leukemia Cooperative Group of European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer and the Dutch Belgian Hemato-Oncology Cooperative Group.

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Daniel den Hoed Cancer Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


We conducted a prospective randomized multicenter clinical trial comparing the effects of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) as an adjunct to intensive chemotherapy in patients of 61 years and older with untreated newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Patients were randomized to either receive daunomycin-cytosine arabinoside with GM-CSF or daunomycin-cytosine arabinoside (control arm). Based on the rationale that GM-CSF might sensitize the leukemic cells to the cytotoxicity of chemotherapy as well as enhance white blood cell regeneration, GM-CSF was given during chemotherapy as well as after chemotherapy. Patients were treated with one, and in case of a partial response, with two remission induction cycles. When a complete remission was attained they received one additional cycle of consolidation therapy. Of 318 evaluable patients with a median age of 68 years, 157 were randomized to receive GM-CSF and 161 were assigned to control therapy. The effect of GM-CSF on treatment was evaluated according to intention-to-treat. Complete remission was achieved in 56% of the patients in the GM-CSF group and 55% of the control patients (P = .98). Recovery of neutrophils was significantly faster in GM-CSF-treated patients. The median time of recovery of neutrophils towards 0.5 x 10(9)/L was 23 days in the GM-CSF group versus 25 days in the control group (P = .0002) with the percentages of patients who recovered being 81% and 71%, respectively. With a median follow-up of 36 months, the probabilities of survival at 2 years after randomization were estimated at 22% for individuals assigned to the GM-CSF treatment as well as for control patients (P = .55). Disease-free survival at 2 years compared 15% and 19% for the two treatment groups (P = .69). The number of nights spent in the hospital, number of transfusions, and frequencies and types of hemorrhages and infections did not differ either. The cytogenetic results at diagnosis of this study in elderly AML shows that there is a relatively high numerical representation of patients with abnormal cytogenetics (55% of documented cases), who showed significantly inferior response rates and survival duration. We conclude that, except for a faster neutrophil recovery, GM-CSF during and after induction chemotherapy does not improve the clinical outcome of elderly patients with AML.

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