Which medications in the drug class Chemotherapeutic agents are used in the treatment of Pediatric Acute Myelocytic Leukemia?

Updated: Sep 12, 2017
  • Author: Mark E Weinblatt, MD; Chief Editor: Jennifer Reikes Willert, MD  more...
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Chemotherapeutic agents

Although many chemotherapeutic agents are active, most current regimens include combinations of an anthracycline and cytosine arabinoside. Chemotherapeutic agents destroy myeloblasts in various mechanisms.


Cytarabine is a purine antimetabolite; it inhibits deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) polymerase. The drug is used in the induction and intensification phases of treatment.

Daunorubicin (Cerubidine)

This is an anthracycline that binds to nucleic acids by intercalating between pairs of DNA, interfering with DNA synthesis. It is used in the induction phase of treatment.


Etoposide is a podophyllotoxin derivative. It is used in the induction and consolidation phases of treatment.


Mitoxantrone inhibits cell proliferation by intercalating DNA and inhibiting topoisomerase II. It is used in the consolidation phase of treatment.


This is used in the induction and maintenance phases in patients with APL.

Arsenic trioxide (Trisenox)

Arsenic trioxide may cause DNA fragmentation and damage or degrade fusion protein promyelocytic leukemia protein–retinoic acid receptor alpha (PML-RAR alpha).

L-asparaginase (Elspar)

This is used in the consolidation phase of therapy. It inhibits protein synthesis by hydrolyzing asparagines to aspartic acid and ammonia.

Gemtuzumab (Mylotarg)

Gemtuzumab ozogamicin is a monoclonal antibody against CD33 antigen, which is expressed on leukemic blasts in more than 80% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia and normal myeloid cells. The antibody-antigen complex is then internalized and the calicheamicin derivative is released inside the myeloid cell, where it binds to DNA, resulting in double strand breaks and cell death. Nonhematopoietic and pluripotent cells are not affected.

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