To determine whether the use of idarubicin+cytarabine (IA) is more effective than the use of daunorubicin+cytarabine (DA) as induction chemotherapy for patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukaemia.
A computer-based search was performed. Randomised trials comparing IA with DA as induction therapy for newly diagnosed AML were included in this meta-analysis. The primary outcome of interest for our analysis was survival (disease-free survival, event-free survival and overall survival); the secondary endpoint was complete remission.
Ten trials with 4,060 patients were eligible for this meta-analysis. Our pooled results suggest that IA is associated with a significant advantage in CR (RR = 1·23; 95% CI = 1·07–1·41, p = 0.004), EFS (HR = 0·64; 95% CI = 0·45–0·91, p = 0.013), and OS (HR = 0·88; 95% CI = 0·81–0·95, p = 0.02) but not in DFS (HR = 0·90; 95% CI = 0·80–1·00, p = 0.06). In the subgroup analysis, age had a significant interaction with OS and CR benefits.
Our analysis indicated that IA could improve the duration of overall survival compared to DA as induction therapy for young patients with newly diagnosed AML. Further study is needed to determine whether IA can produce clinical benefits in selected genetic or molecular subgroups of young AML patients.