Aims: To investigate the safety and efficacy of the triple therapy of decitabine, idarubicin, and cytarabine in the treatment of refractory or recurrent acute myeloid leukemia (R/R AML). Methods: We conducted a single-center retrospective study in which decitabine treatment was administered prior to full-dose idarubicin and cytarabine (D-IA) for 21 R/R AML patients. Results: After 1 cycle of D-IA, 10/21 (47.6%) patients experienced a complete remission (CR) and 2/21 (9.5%) showed a partial response. There was a 1-month response rate (RR) in 12/21 patients (57.14%); these patients achieved CR after 2 cycles of D-IA. Five of these 12 (40%) patients then received sequential allogeneic stem cell transplantation. At the last follow-up date, 9/21 (42.8%) patients had survived, and 7/21 (33.3%) were in continuous CR. Hematological toxicity and infections were the most prominent toxicities of this regimen. Other toxicities included nausea, vomiting, bleeding, and liver enzyme abnormalities. No mortalities were recorded due to treatment-related toxicity during remission. Conclusions: The combination was well tolerated, and the RR was encouraging. Our study suggests that D-IA may offer a novel and potentially effective treatment regimen for R/R AML patients.

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