ACUTE LEUKEMIA CAN BE BEATEN WITHOUT CHEMO, SHOWS GIMEMA-AIL STUDY PUBLISHED IN THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE
Successfully treating acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) without chemotherapy is now possible, a finding demonstrated by a study involving 40 Italian blood centers and 27 German centers, based on research efforts coordinated by Francesco Lo Coco, Full Professor of Hematology at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” and coordinator of the GIMEMA APL Study Group.
The clinical study entitled “Retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide for acute promyelocytic leukemia” was published in The New England Journal of Medicine on July 11, 2013. In the GIMEMA-AIL study, a combination of retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide – hence, free of chemotherapy – was compared with the conventional approach of combining retinoic acid with chemotherapy. The results over more than 160 patients showed 2-year survival rates of 98% for patients treated with arsenic, compared with 91% for patients who had received chemotherapy. This therefore marks the first time that success has been demonstrated for a therapeutic strategy of treating acute leukemia based solely on targeted therapies.
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