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Trisenox (Arsenic Trioxide)/PCR Testing Implicated in Treatment Algorithm for Refractory Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia

SEATTLE, WA — March 5, 2002 — The first published treatment algorithm for relapsed or refractory acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) reinforces that arsenic trioxide is the standard of care for this patient population.

The treatment algorithm was developed for a review article, entitled "Advances in the Treatment of Relapsed Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia," recently published in the peer-reviewed medical journal, Acta Haematologica (2002; 107:1-17).

The author, Dan Douer, M.D., associate professor of medicine and director of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Program at the University of Southern California (USC) Norris Cancer Center in Los Angeles, also recommends that patients in first and second remission be monitored for two years via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for evidence of a molecular relapse. A positive test indicates that a clinical relapse may soon occur. The exact treatment for a molecular relapse has not yet been determined and is under investigation.

"Because patients with molecular relapse do not experience any symptoms, it is critical that PCR testing be used to routinely monitor the bone marrow for molecular relapse. Patients will eventually progress from molecular to clinical relapse, which may lead to early death even before treatment has started," said Dr. Douer. "As soon as a patient is determined to be in molecular relapse, one of the recommended treatments should be started."

A study using Trisenox® (arsenic trioxide) for patients in first molecular relapse is currently underway in the United States.

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