Purpose: We analyzed complete remission (CR), disease-free survival (DFS), and event-free survival (EFS) rates in two groups of patients treated with either N4-behenoyl-1-beta-D-arabinosylcytosine (BHAC) or cytarabine, and analyzed DFS with or without ubenimex, a biologic response modifier.
Patients and methods: Newly diagnosed patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) were randomized to receive either BHAC or cytarabine as remission-induction combination chemotherapy and two courses of consolidation therapy. After maintenance/intensification therapy, patients in CR were randomized to receive either ubenimex and no drug.
Results: Of 341 patients registered, 326 were assessable. The age of assessable patients ranged from 15 to 82 years (median, 48). The overall CR rate was 77%: 72% in the BHAC group and 81% in the cytarabine group, and there was a significant difference between the two groups (P = .035, chi 2 test). The predicted 55-month EFS rate of all patients was 30%: 23% in the BHAC group and 35% in the cytarabine group, with a significant difference between groups (P = .0253). The predicted 55-month DFS rate of all CR patients was 38% and that of CR patients less than 50 years of age was 47%. There was no significant difference in DFS between the ubenimex group and the group that did not receive ubenimex.
Conclusion: Analyses of our clinical trial showed that the use of BHAC in remission-induction therapy and in consolidation therapy resulted in poorer CR and EFS rates in adult AML patients compared with the use of cytarabine at the doses and schedules tested. Immunotherapy with ubenimex after the end of all chemotherapy did not improve DFS.