Arsenic Improves Survival in Rare Form of Leukemia

In a trial sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, adults with previously untreated acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) who had standard chemotherapy (Trisenox, Cephalon) to induce remission and who then received arsenic trioxide to maintain remission had better event-free and overall survival times than patients who received only standard chemotherapy.

Acute promyelocytic leukemia, an uncommon subtype of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), accounts for about 10% of AML cases. It occurs most often in young and middle-aged adults.

Standard chemotherapy regimens produce complete remission rates of approximately 70% and show a five-year survival rate without disease recurrence in 35% to 45% of patients.

More recently, arsenic trioxide was shown to be effective for producing a second remission in patients who had a relapse or recurrence of APL after the first treatment. The percentage of adult patients who remained alive and in remission three years after diagnosis was 77% with treatment (which included arsenic trioxide), compared with 59% receiving standard treatment. canadian cialis

The greater effectiveness of the experimental combination also resulted in better overall survival after three years: 86% with arsenic trioxide and 77% with standard therapy.

There was no difference in hemato-logical toxicities between the groups, but the arsenic trioxide patients reported a slightly higher incidence of headache and infection.