Trial of Arsenic Trioxide With Ascorbic Acid in the Treatment of Adult Non-Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL) Acute Myelogenous Leukemia

This study has been terminated.
(Competing studies)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of Southern California Identifier:
First received: September 12, 2005
Last updated: October 16, 2012
Last verified: October 2012

This clinical research study is for patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (in short AML) that did not respond to previous treatment or unable to receive chemotherapy.

Arsenic has been used as a drug for many centuries. While arsenic containing drugs were used in the past for cancer treatments, the major use of arsenic in western countries has been for the treatment of uncommon tropical illnesses, such as sleeping sickness. Recently, some new information suggests that arsenic in a form called arsenic trioxide may also be useful to treat some cancers of the blood, such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Studies from China and the USA showed that patients with a type of blood cancer called acute promyelocytic leukemia, whose disease failed to respond to other treatments, responded very well to arsenic trioxide. Studies done in laboratories in the United States have shown that arsenic can kill AML cells growing in culture dishes.

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), a natural supplement in our diet, has long been involved with cancer prevention. Laboratory tests have shown that although arsenic trioxide by itself can kill AML cells in the test tube, when vitamin C is added to arsenic trioxide in a test tube, the death of the leukemia cells increases significantly.

The purpose of this study is to find out if the combination of arsenic trioxide (Trisenox) and ascorbic acid is effective in the treatment of patients who have AML. The second purpose is to study how the two drugs affect cells in the laboratory. Samples from the blood and bone marrow (the part of the body that makes blood cells) will be collected, at specific times during treatment, in order to study them in the laboratory. By studying blood and marrow cells, researchers hope to learn the mechanisms by which the drugs work.

Condition Intervention Phase
Acute Myelogenous Leukemia
Drug: Arsenic Trioxide and Ascorbic Acid
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Non-Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Phase II Trial of Arsenic Trioxide With Ascorbic Acid in the Treatment of Adult Non-APL Acute Myelogenous Leukemia

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of Southern California:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Response (Complete Remission, Complete Remission [platelet], Partial Remission, and Progression) [ Time Frame: 6 months after enrollment of last participant ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Safety [ Time Frame: Weekly ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]

Enrollment: 10
Study Start Date: April 2002
Study Completion Date: August 2011
Primary Completion Date: June 2009 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Arm 1 Drug: Arsenic Trioxide and Ascorbic Acid

Arsenic Trioxide .25 mg/kg/day

Ascorbic Acid 100 mg per day

Both during induction, consolidation and maintenance


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Diagnosis of non-APL AML (FAB subtypes M0 - M7 but excluding M3) confirmed by myeloperoxidase stain and/or flow cytometry.
  • For patients of age 18 or older - only refractory or relapsed AML will be included. Refractory disease is defined as newly diagnosed patients who fulfill ONE of the following criteria:

    • Patient aged 60 years or younger, who have failed to achieve a complete remission after at least two cycles of front line induction chemotherapy.
    • Patients of any age who have AML, that is post myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), who failed to achieve a complete remission after at least one cycle of front line induction chemotherapy.
    • Patients aged 60 years or older who failed to achieve a complete remission after at least one cycle of front line induction chemotherapy.
  • Newly diagnosed patients aged 55 or older who will not receive intensive anti-leukemia chemotherapy can also be enrolled.
  • Post-myelodysplasia AML and secondary AML are included.
  • Stem cell transplantation failures are included.
  • Karnofsky performance status greater or equal to 50%.
  • Adequate renal function (creatinine < 1.5 x ULN or creatinine clearance > 60 ml/min) and hepatic function (transaminases < 2.5 x ULN, serum total bilirubin < 3 mg/dl).
  • Females of childbearing potential must have a negative serum pregnancy test prior to enrollment on the study, and both women and men must use an effective birth control method while on the study.
  • Signed consent.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Newly diagnosed patients older than age 55 who:

    • Refuse chemotherapy when their treating physician recommends standard anti-leukemia induction chemotherapy.
    • Have a Karnofsky performance status of greater or equal to 70%, aged < 75 years and has no prior myelodysplastic syndrome.
    • Have a risk/benefit ratio that gives their treating physician good reason for administration of standard anti-leukemia induction chemotherapy.
  • Patients who have already been treated with arsenics.
  • CML in blastic crisis.
  • Patients with cardiopathies including recurrent supraventricular arrhythmia and any type of sustained ventricular arrhythmia or conduction block (A-V block grade II or III, LBBB).
  • Patients with HIV.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • QT interval > 460 msec in the presence of serum potassium > 4.0 mEq/L and magnesium > 1.8 mg/dL.
  • Pre-existing neurotoxicity/neuropathy of Grade 2 or greater according to the NCI Common Toxicity Criteria Version 2.
  • History of preexisting neurological disorders (grade 3 or higher by the NCI Common Toxicity Criteria; in particular, seizure disorders).
  • Patients with an underlying medical condition that could be aggravated by the treatment or life threatening disease unrelated to AML as evaluated by the enrolling physician.
  • Patients with active second malignancy, excluding adequately treated basal or squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, or carcinoma in situ of the cervix.
  • Inability or unwillingness to comply with the treatment protocol.
  Contacts and Locations
Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00184054

United States, California
USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
Los Angeles, California, United States, 90032
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Southern California
Principal Investigator: Dan Douer, MD University of Southern California
  More Information

No publications provided

Responsible Party: University of Southern California Identifier: NCT00184054     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 9L-02-1
Study First Received: September 12, 2005
Last Updated: October 16, 2012
Health Authority: United States: Institutional Review Board

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute
Leukemia, Myeloid
Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute
Neoplasms by Histologic Type
Ascorbic Acid
Arsenic trioxide
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Pharmacologic Actions
Protective Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Growth Substances
Antineoplastic Agents
Therapeutic Uses processed this record on April 23, 2014