Article ID: 2016.01221
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is the commonest form of leukemia in the adults, with an incidence of 3-4 cases per 100,000 people/year. After the first description of the effective cytarabine + antracycline (3+7) induction regimen, in the last 3 decades, no effective targeted drug has been included in the standard treatment of AML. Many efforts of modifying 3+7 adding a third drug or increasing the dose of anthracycline, cytarabine or both did not lead to substantial improvements, mainly due to increased toxicity. Many in vitro and in vivo evidences suggested that fludarabine may increase efficacy of cytarabine through a synergistic effect. Considering the continuous improvements in supportive care and management of infectious complications the feasibility of more intensive induction strategies have increased and a renewed interest in fludarabine-containing induction strategies arose. The recent MRC AML 15 trial has shown that a fludarabine-containing induction, FLAG-Ida, resulted superior to conventional 3+7 in terms of complete remission rates, relapse incidence and survival, although only a minority of patients could complete the whole planned consolidation program due to an excessive hematological toxicity. Our group recently published a 10-year experience with a fludarabine-containing induction that slightly differed from the MRC one and resulted in good efficacy and higher feasibility. In this commentary we review the major evidences supporting the employ of a fludarabine-containing induction in AML, and discuss the future perspectives.