High dose cytosine arabinoside (HDARAC) in refractory acute leukemia

Cancer. 1979 Oct;44(4):1189-93. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(197910)44:4<1189::aid-cncr2820440404>3.0.co;2-o.


Thirteen leukemic patients with disease refractory to conventional chemotherapy were treated with 1.0 to 7.5 g/m2 of Cytosine Arabinoside (Ara-C) over 29 drug cycles. Drug infusions were spaced at 12-hour intervals; a maximum of four doses was administered over 36 hours. After single dose tolerance had been established, three or four dose cycles were given at 2- to 30-day intervals. There were three partial remissions (PR) and one complete remission (CR) in a treatment group of four patients with AML, five with ALL, two with lymphoma converted to leukemic phase, one CML in blast crisis, and one promyelocytic leukemia. Five of the patients were septic and considered terminally ill at the time of treatment. All other patients had evidence of drug responsiveness. The nadir of the white count occurred from 3 to 12 days after treatment, with subsequent recovery of the peripheral granulocyte count between days 12 and 28. Toxicity included nausea and vomiting (GI symptoms) in twelve patients, central nervous system (CNS) disturbances in eight patients, one episode of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone syndromes (SIADH), one of hyperuricemia, and fever in eleven patients. There was no evidence of hepatic or renal dysfunction. These high doses of Ara-C appear useful for treatment of patients with refractory leukemia. Hospitalization is brief and toxicity acceptable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cytarabine / administration & dosage*
  • Cytarabine / adverse effects
  • Digestive System / drug effects
  • Drug Resistance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Leukemia / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Remission, Spontaneous
  • Time Factors


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cytarabine