Combination chemotherapy of intermediate-dose cytarabine, idarubicin, plus etoposide and subsequent mobilized donor leukocyte infusion for relapsed acute leukemia after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation

J H Lee, K H Lee, S Kim, M Seol, S H Kim, W K Kim, J S Lee
Leukemia Research 2001, 25 (4): 305-12
The efficacy and side effects of intermediate-dose cytarabine, idarubicin plus etoposide and subsequent donor leukocyte infusion (DLI) were investigated in patients with acute leukemia who relapsed after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Patients were given cytarabine continuous i.v. (1 g/m2 per day x 5), idarubicin i.v. (12 mg/m2 per day x 3), and etoposide i.v. infusion (150 mg/m2 per day x 3). Two days later, G-CSF mobilized donor leukocytes were infused for 2 days. No graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis was given. Between August 1997 and February 2000, 13 patients enrolled (eight acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and five acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)). All patients finished chemotherapy and DLI. Eleven patients (85%) achieved complete remission (CR) at median 27 days after DLI. After median follow up of 10.9 months (2.5-33.3), five of 11 patients who achieved CR relapsed. Overall, six of 13 patients were surviving (6/8 AML and 0/5 ALL, P=0.059). Marrow recovery after chemotherapy and DLI was rapid (12 days for absolute neutrophil count (ANC) >500/microl). Side effects included fever with neutropenia (100%), pneumonia (46%), grade II-IV mucositis (69%), grade III-IV acute GVHD (45%), and extensive chronic GVHD (64%). One patient died from chronic GVHD. Chemotherapy containing intermediate-dose cytarabine and DLI produced a high CR rate in acute leukemia in relapse after allogeneic BMT. A fraction of patients are surviving long term. Side effects were substantial but manageable.

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