Phase II study of FLAGM (fludarabine + high-dose cytarabine + granulocyte colony-stimulating factor + mitoxantrone) for relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia

  • Nahoko Hatsumi
  • Shuichi MiyawakiEmail author
  • Takahiro Yamauchi
  • Akihiro Takeshita
  • Norio Komatsu
  • Noriko Usui
  • Yukihiro Arai
  • Fumihiro Ishida
  • Takeshi Morii
  • Yasuhiko Kano
  • Michinori Ogura
  • Shinichiro Machida
  • Kazuhiro Nishii
  • Sumihisa Honda
  • Kazunori Ohnishi
  • Tomoki Naoe
  • The Japan Adult Leukemia Study Group (JALSG)
Original Article


Given the poor prognosis of patients with relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML), better therapy is needed. Fludarabine enhances the efficacy of Ara-C (cytarabine) by increasing intracellular Ara-C-triphosphate. The FLAG (fludarabine, high-dose Ara-C, supported with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor) regimen has been tested for use in AML patients by other investigators. In the phase II study reported here, we evaluated the efficacy and toxicity of FLAGM therapy (FLAG with mitoxantrone), further intensified by adding mitoxantrone, based on the results of a phase I study by our group. The major endpoints were complete remission (CR) rate and early death. From June 2004 to February 2008, 41 patients (median age 52 years; range 18–64 years) were enrolled. Thirty (73% 95% CI 58–84%) patients achieved CR, which met the primary endpoint; there was a single case of early death from pneumonia. Two-year overall survival was 39.4% (95% CI 25.2–55.6%). Of those who achieved CR, 27 underwent allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT), and 12 SCT recipients showed long-term survival. Grade 3/4 non-hematological adverse events included infection (59%), nausea/vomiting (15%), diarrhea (7%), and elevated liver enzymes (7%). In conclusion, FLAGM is an effective and safe salvage therapy for patients with relapsed/refractory AML, and facilitated SCT for a large proportion of patients.


Relapsed/refractory AML Salvage therapy Fludarabine High-dose Ara-C 



The authors would like to thank the patients for entering this study and the participating physicians from the 20 institutions who registered their patients and provided necessary data, which made this study possible. The authors would also like to thank Dr. Ryuzo Ohno for his advice and help during the entire study, as well as the preparation of the manuscript, Nihon Schering KK for providing fludarabine, and Kirin Brewery Company, Limited, for providing filgrastim. This study was supported in part by a grant from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

SM received personal fees from Astelas, Ohtsuka Pharmaceutical and Novartis Pharma K. K, outside the submitted work; AT received grants from Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., grants from Teijin Pharma K.K., grants from Pfizer Japan Inc., grants from Astellas Pharma Inc., grants from Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.,Ltd., grants from Nihon Pharmaceutical Co.,Ltd., grants from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., grants from Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co.,Ltd., grants from Daiichi Sankyo Co.,Ltd., grants from Japan Blood Product Organization, outside the submitted work; MO received personal fees from MundiPharma, personal fees from MeijiSeika Pharma, grants and personal fees from Celltrion, personal fees from Takeda, grants and personal fees from SymBio, personal fees from Cellgene, personal fees from AstraZeneka, outside the submitted work; NU received personal fees from Celgene Co.,Ltd, personal fees from CIMIC Co.,Ltd., personal fees from Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co.,Ltd., grants and personal fees from Pfizer Co.,Ltd., personal fees from Takeda Bio Development Center Ltd., personal fees from Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co.,Ltd., personal fees from Chugai Pharmaceutical Co.,Ltd, outside the submitted work; TN received grants and personal fees from Astellas Pharma Inc., grants from Amgen Astellas BioPharma K.K., grants and personal fees from Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co.,LTD., grants from Fujifilm Corporation, personal fees from Nippon Boehringer Ingelheim Co., Ltd., grants from Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co.,Ltd., grants from TOYAMA CHEMICAL CO.,LTD., outside the submitted work; In addition, TN has a patent Fujifilm Corporation issued, a patent Chugai Pharmaceutical Co.,LTD. issued, and a patent Kyowa-Hakko Kirin Co.,Ltd. issued. The other authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Hematology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nahoko Hatsumi
    • 1
  • Shuichi Miyawaki
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Takahiro Yamauchi
    • 3
  • Akihiro Takeshita
    • 4
  • Norio Komatsu
    • 5
  • Noriko Usui
    • 6
  • Yukihiro Arai
    • 7
  • Fumihiro Ishida
    • 8
  • Takeshi Morii
    • 9
  • Yasuhiko Kano
    • 10
  • Michinori Ogura
    • 11
    • 12
  • Shinichiro Machida
    • 13
  • Kazuhiro Nishii
    • 14
  • Sumihisa Honda
    • 15
  • Kazunori Ohnishi
    • 16
  • Tomoki Naoe
    • 17
  • The Japan Adult Leukemia Study Group (JALSG)
  1. 1.Leukemia Research CenterSaiseikai Maebashi HospitalMaebashiJapan
  2. 2.Division of HematologyTokyo Metropolitan Ohtsuka HospitalTokyoJapan
  3. 3.First Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medical SciencesUniversity of FukuiFukuiJapan
  4. 4.Department of Medicine IIIHamamatsu University School of MedicineHamamatsuJapan
  5. 5.Division of HematologyJichi Medical UniversityShimotsukeJapan
  6. 6.Division of Clinical Oncology and Hematology, Department of Internal MedicineJikei University School of MedicineTokyoJapan
  7. 7.Department of HematologyDokkyo University School of MedicineMibuJapan
  8. 8.Department of Internal MedicineShinshu University School of MedicineMatsumotoJapan
  9. 9.The Second Department of Internal MedicineNara Medical UniversityNaraJapan
  10. 10.Division of HematologyTochigi Cancer CenterUtsunomiyaJapan
  11. 11.Department of Hematology and OncologyNagoya Daini Red Cross HospitalNagoyaJapan
  12. 12.Department of Hematology and OncologyKasugai Municipal HospitalKasugaiJapan
  13. 13.Department of Hematology and OncologyTokai University School of MedicineIseharaJapan
  14. 14.Hematology and OncologyMie University Graduate School of MedicineTsuJapan
  15. 15.Department of Public HealthNagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical SciencesNagasakiJapan
  16. 16.Oncology CenterHamamatsu University School of MedicineHamamatsuJapan
  17. 17.OncologyNagoya University Graduate School of MedicineNagoyaJapan

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