The effectiveness of anthracycline dose intensification for induction of CR in AML has not been studied in a randomized fashion. We conducted a prospective randomized trial to compare the therapeutic efficacy and toxicity of two different doses of daunorubicin in combination with cytarabine in AML. This study began on August 2001 and 293 adult patients (younger than 60 years) with newly diagnosed AML except M3 have been enrolled. Fourteen patients were removed from the study and the remaining 279 patients were analyzed. After random assignments, 135 patients received standard-dose daunorubicin (SD-DN, 45 mg/m2/d × 3 d) and 144 patients received high-dose daunorubicin (HD-DN, 90 mg/m2/d × 3 d) in addition to cytarabine (200 mg/m2/d × 7 d) for induction of CR. Patients with persistent leukemia received the second attempt of induction chemotherapy, consisting of standard-dose daunorubicin (2 d) plus cytarabine (5 d). Patients who attained CR received 4 cycles of high-dose cytarabine (3 g/m2 × 6 doses) and 2 cycles of daunorubicin (1 d) plus cytarabine (5 d). For patients in intermediate- or high-risk cytogenetic groups, allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation was performed if there was a suitable donor. CR was induced in 98 of 135 patients (72.6%) in SD-DN arm and 119 of 144 (82.6%) in HD-DN arm (P = 0.044). The impact of daunorubicin dose intensification on the CR rates were different by cytogenetic risk group: the CR rates for SD-DN vs. HD-DN arm were 24/25 (96.0%) vs. 35/36 (97.2%) for good-risk group, 63/88 (71.6%) vs. 64/83 (77.1%) for intermediate-risk group, and 10/20 (50.0%) vs. 19/24 (79.2%) for poor-risk group. With a median follow-up of 596 days for surviving patients, the 4-year probabilities of overall survival, disease-free survival, and relapse-free survival were similar between SD-DN and HD-DN arm. Two different doses of daunorubicin (SD-DN vs. HD-DN) showed similar toxicity profiles regarding recovery times from myelosuppression, transfusion requirements, severe toxicities (grades III to IV) classified by NCI-CTC ver 2.0 including cardiac toxicities, and duration of antibiotics administration. In conclusion, high-dose daunorubicin showed higher CR rates in AML patients of intermediate- and poor- cytogenetic risk groups without increase of toxicities compared to standard-dose daunorubicin.

Author notes

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.