Mitoxantrone and constant infusion etoposide for relapsed and refractory acute myelocytic leukemia

P. A. Paciucci, R. B. Davis, J. F. Holland, O. Martelo, C. A. Schiffer

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17 Scopus citations


In an effort to search for new, synergistic and non-cross-resistant antileukemic regimens, the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) investigated the activity and toxicity of mitoxantrone in combination with etoposide for the reinduction of patients with relapsed or refractory acute myelocytic leukemia (AML). Mitoxantrone, 12 mg/m2 daily for 3 days, was combined with three dose levels of etoposide, 100, 150 and 200 mg/m2 daily by constant infusion for 5 days. There were 19 male and 13 female patients, with a median age of 46 (range, 21-74). Of these, nine were primarily refractory to daunorubicin and ara-C; 17 had one prior complete remission (CR), five had two prior CR, and one had three prior CR. Thirteen patients were entered at the first dose level, 11 were entered at the second, and eight at the third. All but one patient, whose death occurred within the first 2 days of treatment, are evaluable for toxicity. There were five CR (four at the first and one at the second dose level) and six partial remissions (PR) (three at the first dose level and three at the second). Unmaintained responses lasted 6-33 weeks. Median survival for all patients was 12.6 weeks. Anti-leukemic effects with severe marrow hypoplasia were observed in all patients; severe nausea and vomiting were seen in four. Severe mucositis, often indistinguishable from superimposed candidiasis, occurred in 40% of all patients; it was associated with dose-limiting esophagitis (three of seven evaluable patients) at the highest etoposide dose. Hepatic and renal dysfunction was severe in three patients; no treatment-related severe pulmonary or cardiac toxicity was observed. Posttreatment infectious complications were severe in 11 patients. In three cases, they were fatal - an incidence not dissimilar from that of other reinduction regimens in heavily pretreated patients. The regimen appears to be active; the combination of mitoxantrone, 12 mg/m2 daily for 3 days, with etoposide, 150 mg/m2/day for 5 days, by constant intravenous infusion is now being explored by the CALGB in a randomized phase II study against mitoxantrone plus diazoquinone and diazoquinone plus etoposide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-519
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1990


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