A phase III comparison of high dose ARA-C (HIDAC) versus HIDAC plus mitoxantrone in the treatment of first relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia Southwest Oncology Group Study

Leuk Res. 1999 Sep;23(9):787-94. doi: 10.1016/s0145-2126(99)00087-9.


The aim of this study is to determine whether the addition of mitoxantrone to high dose cytarabine improves the outcome of treatment in patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML). One hundred and sixty-two eligible patients, 14-76 years of age, with AML either in first relapse or that failed to respond to initial remission induction therapy, with no CNS involvement were randomized to receive therapy with cytarabine 3 gm/M2 i.v. over 2 h every 12 h for 12 doses on days 1-6 (Arm I) (HIDAC); or HIDAC plus mitoxantrone 10 mg/M2 i.v. daily on days 7 9 (Arm II) (HIDAC + M). Patients achieving complete remission were treated with three courses of consolidation including HIDAC (Ara-C 3 gm/M2 i.v. 12 h days 1 3; 2 gm/M2 over age 50) alone (ARM I) or with mitoxantrone (10 mg/M2 i.v. day 1) (ARM II). Among 162 patients (81 HIDAC, 81 HIDAC + M) evaluated for induction toxicity, there were 10 (12%) induction deaths with HIDAC and 13 (17%) with HIDAC + M (2-tailed P = 0.65). Most early deaths were due to infection and/or hemorrhage. Among 162 patients evaluated for responses to induction therapy, 26/81 (32%) HIDAC and 36/81 (44%) HIDAC + M patients achieved complete remission (two-tailed P = 0.15). Although this difference was not statistically significant in univariate analysis, it was after adjusting for the effects of WBC and PMN percentage in multivariate analysis (P=0.013). Median survivals from study entry were 8 months (HIDAC) and 6 months (HIDAC + M); 2-tailed logrank P = 0.58. Among 48 patients registered for consolidation, the median disease-free survivals from that registration were 8 months with HIDAC and 11 months with HIDAC + M (P = 0.60). There were three treatment-related deaths during consolidation (1 HIDAC, 2 HIDAC + M), all due to infections. In this randomized trial, the addition of mitoxantrone to high-dose cytarabine was associated with a trend toward a higher CR rate. There was less evidence for an advantage in disease-free or overall survival, although any such conclusion is limited by the size of the study.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Cytarabine / administration & dosage
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitoxantrone / administration & dosage
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cytarabine
  • Mitoxantrone