A pilot study of the efficacy and toxicity of the low-dose cytarabine and homoharringtonine in combination with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) (CHG protocol) in patients with advanced myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) or MDS-transformed acute myeloid leukaemia (t-AML) was conducted. A total of 50 patients (31, advanced MDS; 19, t-AML) were enrolled in this study. All patients were administered the CHG regimen comprising low-dose cytarabine (25 mg/d, intravenous continuous infusion, days 1 C14), homoharringtonine (1 mg/d, intravenous continuous infusion, days 1 C14) and G-CSF (300 μg/d, subcutaneous injection, days 0 C14, intermitted when the peripheral WBC count reached >20 °Á 109/L). This regimen was followed by conventional chemotherapy as post-remission therapy when complete remission (CR) was achieved. The overall response rate was 68.0% after one course of the CHG regimen was applied. Of the total 50 patients, 24 (48.0%) achieved CR and 9 (18.0%) achieved partial remission (PR). The median overall survival (OS) was 14.1 months. Among the patients aged ≥ 70 years, the response rate was 81.0% (71.4% CR and 9.6% PR), while in patients aged < 70 years, the response rate was 55.2% (31.0% CR and 24.1% PR) (P < 0.01). There were no statistically significant differences for CR, PR and OS when the patients were grouped by blast percentage in bone marrow and karyotypes, respectively. 8 of the 24 CR patients who just received post-remission regimens of HA (homoharringtonine and cytarabine) and DA (daunorubicin and cytarabine) relapsed rapidly and just kept a mean CR of 4.3 months. Otherwise, the other 14 CR patients alternatively received succeeded chemotherapy, which combined mitoxantrone, idarubicin, pirarubicin or aclarubicin with cytarabine or decitabine. The mean CR duration of these 14 patients reached 15.5 months with 4 still maintaining continuous CR. No treatment-related deaths were observed. Myelosuppression was mild to moderate, and no severe non-haematological toxicity was observed. Thus, CHG priming regimen as an induction therapy is well tolerated and effective in advanced MDS or t-AML patients.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.