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Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is remarkable for its upfront mortality rate from disseminated intravascular coagulation and its high cure rate with therapy. Although induction and consolidation regimens continue to evolve, newer approaches combine an anthracycline with or without cytarabine and the highly effective differentiating drugs all-trans retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide. Early trials showed a benefit of maintenance therapy on overall survival, although this benefit has been less clear in subsequent trials. This review assesses the differences in these trials and outlines a rational approach to maintenance therapy in APL, generally advising against maintenance in patients who underwent adequate consolidation therapy, particularly if they presented with low-risk disease (WBC < 10,000) and experienced molecular complete remission after completion of consolidation.


Edmond Marzbani, Elihu Estey. Who benefits from maintenance therapy in acute promyelocytic leukemia? Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network : JNCCN. 2012 Aug;10(8):1023-8

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PMID: 22878825

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