Introduction: We conducted a randomized trial comparing two different doses of daunorubicin as induction chemotherapy in young adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and showed intensification of induction therapy using a high daily dose of daunorubicin (90 mg/m2/d x 3d) improved both complete remission (CR) rate and survival duration compared to standard daunorubicin dose (45 mg/m2/d x 3d) (Lee JH et al. Blood 2011;118:3832). As it is necessary to compare the effects of high-dose daunorubicin with that of other agents, especially idarubicin, we performed another randomized trial comparing two induction regimens in young adults with AML: idarubicin vs. high-dose daunorubicin (ClinicalTrials.gov #NCT01145846). Here, we present final results of the study.

Methods: Between May 2010 and March 2014, a total of 316 patients (65 years or younger) with newly diagnosed AML except acute promyelocytic leukemia were registered in this study. Seventeen patients were removed from the study (change of diagnosis in 11, patient's refusal to be randomized in 3 and other in 3) and the remaining 299 patients were analyzed. After random assignments, 149 patients received idarubicin (AI, 12 mg/m2/d x 3d) and 150 patients received high-dose daunorubicin (AD, 90 mg/m2/d x 3d) in addition to cytarabine (200 mg/m2/d x 7d) for induction of CR. Patients with persistent leukemia received the second attempt of induction chemotherapy, consisting of idarubicin (AI, 12 mg/m2/d x 2d) or daunorubicin (AD, 45 mg/m2/d x 2d) plus cytarabine (5d). Patients who attained CR received 4 cycles of high-dose cytarabine (3 g/m2 x 6 doses) in patients with good- or intermediate-risk cytogenetics and 4 cycles of cytarabine (1 g/m2 x 6d) plus etoposide (150 mg/m2 x 3d) in those with high-risk cytogenetics. Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) was performed according to attending physician's discretion after one or two cycles of consolidation chemotherapy in most transplant cases.

Results: CR was induced in 232 (77.6%) of 299 patients. Reasons for induction failure were resistant disease in 50, hypoplastic death in 5, and indeterminate cause in 12. As postremission therapy, 3 patients received no further treatment, 71 received consolidation chemotherapy without HCT, 137 underwent allogeneic HCT, and 21 underwent autologous HCT. The CR rates were not significantly different between two arms: 80.5% (120 of 149, AI) vs. 74.7% (112 of 150, AD) (P=0.224). With a median follow-up of 1046 days, overall survival probabilities at 4 years were 51.1% in AI vs. 54.7% in AD (P=0.756). The probabilities at 4 years for relapse-free survival were 63.5% in AI vs. 74.2% in AD (P=0.181) and those for event-free survival were 44.8% in AI vs. 50.7% in AD (P=0.738). Toxicity profiles were similar between two arms. Interestingly, overall and event-free survivals of 44 patients with FLT-ITD mutants (27 in AI and 17 in AD) were significantly different according to the induction regimens (AI vs AD; overall survival, 30.8% vs. 61.9%, P=0.030; event-free survival, 31.4% vs. 61.9%, P=0.025).

Conclusions: The results of this phase 3 trial, which compared idarubicin (12 mg/m2/d x 3d) with high-dose daunorubicin (90 mg/m2/d x 3d), did not show significant differences between two arms in the outcomes of patients in terms of CR rates and overall, relapse-free or event-free survivals. In subset analysis, high-dose daunorubicin seems to be more effective than idarubicin in patients with FLT-ITD mutants.


Kim:Celgene: Research Funding; Alexion Pharmaceuticals: Research Funding; Il-Yang: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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