Constitutive activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT3) was detected in blasts from approximately 50% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and was correlated with an adverse outcome. In vitro treatment of AML blasts with arsenic trioxide (ATO) down-regulated STAT3 activity within 6 hours associated with a reduced viability within 48 hours.
A phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate the biologically effective dose and/or the maximally tolerated dose (MTD) of ATO in vivo in conjunction with high-dose cytarabine (Hidac) and idarubicin (Ida) in patients with AML aged <60 years was conducted. Data were compared with 117 historic AML patients who had received treatment with Hidac/Ida.
In total, 61 patients were enrolled onto 11 different dose levels (from 0.01 to 0.65 mg/kg ideal body weight). The MTD was 0.5 mg/kg. Compared with historic controls, patients who received ATO/Hidac/Ida, although they had similar pretreatment characteristics, had better overall survival (P = .039).
ATO priming may have improved the outcome of patients aged <60 years with AML who received Hidac/Ida. The current data suggested that ATO may enhance the effect of chemotherapy. The authors concluded that further studies of this novel combination are warranted. Cancer 2011;. © 2011 American Cancer Society.