Objective: To compare the therapeutic effects and reactions of intra venous arsenic trioxide and all-trans retinoic acid in treating patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL).
Methods: 75 cases of APL were randomized either to arsenic trioxide (37) or to all-trans retinoic acid (38). The rates of complete remission (CR), disease free survival (DFS) and side effects were observed.
Results: In the two groups of patients with APL, the rate of CR was 86.4% and 84.2%. There was also no significant difference in the rate of DSF phase of CR (P > 0.05). The side effects of these two medications in therapeutic dose were mild and there was no cross resistance between them.
Conclusion: Arsenic trioxide can lead to apoptosis of leukemic cells and might be a new promising drug to induce differentiation.