Purpose: There has been little survival improvement in older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in the last two decades. Improving induction treatment may improve the rate and quality of remission and consequently survival. In our previous trial, in younger patients, we showed improved survival for the majority of patients when adding gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO) to induction chemotherapy.
Patients and methods: Untreated patients with AML or high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (median age, 67 years; range, 51 to 84 years) were randomly assigned to receive induction chemotherapy with either daunorubicin/ara-C or daunorubicin/clofarabine, with (n = 559) or without (n = 556) GO 3 mg/m(2) on day 1 of course one of therapy. The primary end point was overall survival (OS).
Results: The overall response rate was 69% (complete remission [CR], 60%; CR with incomplete recovery [CRi], 9%), with no difference between GO (70%) and no GO (68%) arms. There was no difference in 30- or 60-day mortality and no major increase in toxicity with GO. With median follow-up of 30 months (range, 5.5 to 54.6 months), 3-year cumulative incidence of relapse was significantly lower with GO (68% v 76%; hazard ratio [HR], 0.78; 95% CI, 0.66 to 0.93; P = .007), and 3-year survival was significantly better (25% v 20%; HR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.76 to 1.00; P = .05). The benefit was apparent across subgroups. There was no interaction with other treatment interventions. A meta-analysis of 2,228 patients in two United Kingdom National Cancer Research Institute trials showed significant improvements in relapse (HR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.72 to 0.93; P = .002) and OS (HR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.79 to 0.98; P = .02).
Conclusion: Adding GO (3 mg/m(2)) to induction chemotherapy reduces relapse risk and improves survival with little increase in toxicity.