Eighteen children with refractory acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) who had been heavily pretreated, were treated with combination etoposide and cytosine arabinoside (ara-C) chemotherapy. Seventeen of these 18 patients were in their first to third relapses; the remaining patient had never responded to induction therapy. The drug combination of etoposide followed by ara-C was administered as an intravenous (IV) infusion twice a week for two consecutive weeks, a total of four doses. The dosage was 150 mg/m2/dose for each drug. Seven (39%) of the 18 patients attained a complete remission (CR) and three (17%) attained a partial remission (PR). Complete response was obtained in two of eight patients with first marrow relapse, and in five of nine patients in second and third relapse. Five patients achieved a CR after one course of therapy and two achieved a CR after two courses of therapy. Of three patients who had previously received teniposide, two attained a CR with this combination. The duration of these responses was brief with a median of 1 month, ranging from 0.5 to 3 months, with the exception of one case, which has been in remission for 2.5 + months. Although myelosuppression was observed, none of the patients died from infection or bleeding. Allergic reaction with fever and rash was observed in two patients. The efficacy of the etoposide and ara-C combination for refractory childhood ALL is encouraging in several current reinduction regimens.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research