Thirty-six patients with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and four with primary refractory ALL were treated with a regimen that included amsacrine, 200 mg/m2, intravenously daily for three days with cytarabine, 3 gm/m2, by infusion over three hours daily for five days. There were 27 remissions in the 36 relapsed patients and two in the four patients with primary refractory disease. Seventeen of the 23 patients with common ALL, four of the six with T-cell ALL, one of the three with B-cell ALL, and seven of eight whose cells were not characterized responded. Toxicity of this regimen was comparable to other reinduction regimens for ALL, but the side effects characteristic of high-dose cytarabine therapy were absent. Since these results compare favorably with conventional induction regimens, its use in the primary treatment of adults and children with high-risk ALL is proposed.

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