The role of all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) treatment in newly-diagnosed acute promyelocytic leukemia patients aged >60 years

R. Latagliata, G. Avvisati, F. Lo Coco, M. C. Petti, D. Diverio, A. Spadea, P. Fazi, C. Torromeo, M. Breccia, F. Malagnino, F. Mandelli

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Background: To evaluate the role and toxicity of ATRA therapy in newly- diagnosed APL patients aged >60 yrs, the outcome of 16 consecutive elderly APL patients observed between January 1990 and June 1996 were analyzed. Patients and methods: Their median age was 65.5 yrs (range 60-81 years), the male/female ratio was 7:9, and molecular biology analysis showed a PML/RARa rearrangement in all patients. Seven patients had a concomitant cardiovascular disease ATRA 45 mg/sqm/day was given to all patients, and in 11 was associated with idarubicin (AIDA protocol); in two patients ATRA was associated with mitoxantrone + ara-C, while the remaining three patients received ATRA alone. Results: Fourteen patients (87.5%) achieved CR, and two patients (12.5%) died during induction. Despite the high CR rate, eight episodes of severe cardiovascular complication were observed in seven patients, three of whom had previously had cardiovascular disease; in addition, three patients had sepsis (two bacterial and one fungal). As of 31 March 1997, 9 of 14 patients were still in first CR after a 19-month (range 7-64 months) median follow-up since attainment of the CR. One patient died in CR of a fungal complication and four patients relapsed after 8, 9, 23 and 35 months following CR; two of them achieved a second CR lasting seven and +15 months with ATRA alone. Of the nine patients still in first CR, only three have received the planned consolidation therapy and five have been in CR for more than 24 months (+25, +33, +34, +38, +63). Conclusions: Despite the fact that most of these patients received shorter consolidation treatments than do younger patients, the good results achieved in them might be considered an indication for modifying treatment schedules in order to reduce severe toxicity and improve protocol compliance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1273-1275
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1997


  • Acute promyelocytic leukemia
  • All-trans-retinoic acid
  • Elderly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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