In patients with secondary acute myeloid leukemia (s-AML) arising from the myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), treatment outcome is unsatisfactory. We compared up-front allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) to induction chemotherapy (IC) as an initial treatment in patients with s-AML arising from MDS. This retrospective study included 85 patients who were diagnosed with s-AML arising from MDS; 11 patients proceeded to up-front HCT without IC (HCT group) and 74 received IC (IC group) as an initial treatment for s-AML, 28 of whom subsequently underwent HCT. In the IC group, 41.9% achieved complete remission (CR) compared to 81.8% in the HCT group (p = 0.013). The HCT group showed a significantly longer event-free survival (EFS) than the IC group (median 29.2 vs. 5.2 months, p = 0.042). Overall survival of the HCT group was higher than that of the IC group, but the difference was not statistically significant (median 34.6 vs. 7.6 months, p = 0.149). After adjustment for other clinical factors, outcome in the HCT group was significantly better than in the IC group in terms of CR rate (hazard ratio, HR, 11.195; p = 0.007) and EFS (HR, 0.384; p = 0.029). Up-front HCT is a viable option in s-AML arising from MDS if an appropriate donor is available. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel

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