Phase II study of arsenic trioxide and ascorbic acid for relapsed or refractory lymphoid malignancies: A Wisconsin Oncology Network study

J. E. Chang, P. M. Voorhees, J. M. Kolesar, H. G. Ahuja, F. A. Sanchez, G. A. Rodriguez, K. Kim, J. Wemdli, H. H. Bailey, B. S. Kahl

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27 Scopus citations


Arsenic trioxide (As2O3) has established clinical activity in acute promyelocytic leukaemia and has pre-clinical data suggesting activity in lymphoid malignancies. Cell death from As2O3 may be the result of oxidative stress. Agents which deplete intracellular glutathione, such as ascorbic acid (AA), may potentiate arsenic-mediated apoptosis. This multi-institution phase II study investigated a novel dosing schedule of As2O3 and AA in patients with relapsed or refractory lymphoid malignancies. Patients received As2O3 0.25 mg/kg IV and AA 1000 mg IV for five consecutive days during the first week of each cycle followed by twice weekly infusions during weeks 2-6. Cycles were repeated every 8 weeks. The primary end point was objective response. In a subset of patients, sequential levels of intracellular glutathione and measures of Bcl-2 and Bax gene expression were evaluated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells during treatment. Seventeen patients were enrolled between March 2002 and February 2004. The median age was 71, and the majority of enrolled patients had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (12/17). Sixteen patients were evaluable, and one patient with mantle cell lymphoma achieved an unconfirmed complete response after five cycles of therapy for an overall response rate of 6%. The trial, which had been designed as a two-stage study, was closed after the first stage analysis due to lack of activity. Haematologic toxicities were the most commonly reported events in this heavily pre-treated population, and comprised the majority of grade 3 and 4 toxicities. Intracellular depletion of glutathione was not consistently observed during treatment. As2O3 and AA in this novel dosing strategy was generally well tolerated but had limited activity in patients with relapsed and refractory lymphoid malignancies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-16
Number of pages6
JournalHematological Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Arsenic trioxide
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Lymphoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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