High-dose cytarabine induction is well tolerated and active in patients with de novo acute myeloid leukemia older than 60 years


  • E.W., M.A., and H.J.K. designed the research, reviewed the data, and wrote the article; E.W., K.B., L.T.H., M.M., and A.L. treated patients, reviewed the data, and approved the article; D.H. and J.N. assisted with data collection and reviewed the article; and L.P. and M.T. analyzed the data and approved the article.



High-dose cytarabine (HiDAC) is safe and very effective in younger patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), but it generally is not well tolerated in the elderly.


The authors explored the safety and tolerability of a modified HiDAC induction regimen consisting of 6 daily doses of cytarabine at 2 g/m2 in combination with 3 daily doses of daunorubicin at 45 mg/m2 in 59 consecutive patients aged >60 years who had de novo AML diagnosed between July 1996 and February 2005.


The median patient age was 68 years (range, 60-86 years). The regimen was well tolerated. Infections were common and occurred in 39% of patients, but cerebellar toxicities occurred in only 7% of patients and were reversible. The day-30 induction-related mortality rate was 10%. Overall, 69% of patients achieved complete remissions (CR), and 80% received up to 3 consolidations with HiDAC. The median follow-up for surviving patients was 53 months (range, 17-114 months). The median overall survival was 15.3 months (range, 1-114 months), and the relapse-free survival was 13.8 months (range, 1-113 months). Survival for patients who achieved CR was 27 months (range, 2-114 months).


The modified HiDAC regimen was well tolerated in patients aged >60 years with AML and was associated with low induction mortality and high rates of CR. Nevertheless, these high remissions still were associated with poor overall outcomes. Cancer 2011;. © 2011 American Cancer Society.