Phase I/II trial of clofarabine and cytarabine in children with relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (AAML0523): A report from the Children's Oncology Group

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The discovery of effective re-induction regimens for children with more than one relapse of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) remains elusive. The novel nucleoside analog clofarabine exhibits modest single agent efficacy in relapsed ALL, though optimal combinations of this agent with other active chemotherapy drugs have not yet been defined. Herein we report the response rates of relapsed ALL patients treated on Children's Oncology Group study AAML0523, a Phase I/II study of the combination of clofarabine and cytarabine.


AAML0523 enrolled 21 children with ALL in second or third relapse, or those refractory to re-induction therapy. The study consisted of two phases: a dose finding phase and an efficacy phase. The dose finding portion consisted of a single dose escalation/de-escalation of clofarabine for 5 days in combination with a fixed dose of cytarabine (1 g/m2/day for 5 days). Eight patients received clofarabine at 40 mg/m2/day and 13 patients at 52 mg/m2/day.


Toxicities observed at all doses of clofarabine were typical of intensive chemotherapy regimens for leukemia, with infection being the most common. We did not observe significant hepatotoxicity as reported in other clofarabine combination regimens. The recommended pediatric Phase II dose of clofarabine in combination with cytarabine for the efficacy portion of AAML0523 was 52 mg/m2. Of 21 patients with ALL, 3 (14%) achieved a complete response (CR). Based on the two-stage design definition of first-stage inactivity, the therapy was deemed ineffective.


The combination of clofarabine and cytarabine in relapsed/refractory childhood ALL does not warrant further clinical investigation.

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