To improve the outcome of allogeneic stem cell transplantation in refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML), we conducted a single-arm phase II clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of conditioning regimen following cytoreduction chemotherapy with 7-day interval.
Adult patients with refractory AML were enrolled in the study and received fludarabine, cytarabine, and idarubicin (FLAG-IDA) as cytoreductive chemotherapy followed by busulfan and fludarabine (Flu-BU) conditioning regimen and transfusion of mobilized peripheral stem cells from human leukocyte antigen-matched sibling or unrelated donor. The primary endpoint of the study was 2-year leukemia-free survival (LFS) and secondary endpoints included complete-remission rate, 2-year overall survival (OS), nonrelapse mortality (NRM), and relapse rate.
A total of 16 patients were enrolled with median age of 36 (16–60), which included 9 primary induction failure, 2 early relapse, and 5 with relapse/refractory disease. The median cycles of previous chemotherapy were 4 (3–10) with a median of 55% (1%–90%) blasts in bone marrow. Six patients received transplantation from matched sibling and 10 from matched unrelated donors. After transplantation, 15 patients achieved bone marrow remission (11 complete remissions [CRs] and 4 bone marrow remissions without platelet recovery) at day +28. A total of 8 patients remained alive in CR with median LFS of 29.5 months (9.5–40.5 months). Four patients relapsed and 3 of them died of disease and another 4 patients died because of transplantation-related toxicity. The 2-year NRM and relapse rates were 25.0% ± 10.8% and 33.4% ± 13.8%, respectively with 2-year OS at 53.5% ± 13.1% and LFS at 50.0% ± 12.5%. Based on the Simon 2-stage design, 5 out of first eligible 14 patients remained leukemia-free for more than 2 years after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; thus, the null hypothesis of the study will be rejected and the study protocol is accepted as being warranted for further study.
Based on the above data, our phase II study demonstrated that the sequential FLAG-IDA cytoreduction chemotherapy followed by Flu-BU conditioning regimen given at the hematological nadir was feasible and has sufficient activity to warrant further investigation prospectively with a larger patient sample (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT01496547).