In a nutshell
This study compared arsenic trioxide (ATO; Trisenox) with the Realgar-Indigo naturalis formula (RIF) in the treatment of children with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Researchers found that oral RIF is as safe and effective as intravenous (IV) ATO in the treatment of these patients.
Acute promyelocytic leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood cells of the immune system. It often affects children but outcomes have improved with better treatments. Arsenic is used as a treatment to stop the growth and spread of the abnormal blood cancer cells. This is in an intravenous form of ATO. RIF is an oral Chinese traditional medicine. It is an oral form of arsenic. The oral form may be easier for children to take, as the IV form needs longer hospital stays.
It is important to compare the safety and effectiveness of these treatments.
Methods & findings
82 patients with APL were included in this study. 42 received ATO and 40 patients received RIF. Patients also received low-intensity chemotherapy. Survival without signs of disease, side effects, and hospital days were measured.
After an average follow-up of 3 years, survival without signs of disease was estimated to be 100% after 5 years in both groups.
Hospital stay for patients on ATO was around 67.8 days. Patients on RIF had shorter hospital stays of around 43.9 days. Side effects such as infections, fever, and headache were lower in the RIF group than in the ATO group.
The bottom line
The study concluded that RIF was as safe and effective as ATO and reduced hospital stays in patients with APL.
The fine print
Authors note a longer follow-up time is needed in this study to measure effectiveness over time.
Published By :
American Journal of Hematology
Aug 30, 2018