Objective: To evaluate the effect of antileukemic chemotherapy administered at diagnosis on the survival of patients with isolated chloroma.
Design: Retrospective review of locally identified patients and analysis of cases from the medical literature.
Patients: The records of all patients with isolated chloroma identified at three teaching hospitals in Toronto between 1980 and 1994 were reviewed. A MEDLINE search was done to identify all cases of isolated chloroma reported in the English-language medical literature. Patients with a previous known hematologic disorder were excluded.
Measurements: The effect of therapy on 1) the interval between diagnosis of chloroma and diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia and 2) survival was determined.
Results: 7 local patients and 83 published cases were identified, for a total of 90 evaluable patients. For the entire group, the median time to the diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia was 9 months, and median survival was 22 months. Chemotherapy was administered to 49 patients (54%) at diagnosis of chloroma. Significantly fewer patients treated with chemotherapy subsequently developed acute myeloid leukemia (41% compared with 71%; P = 0.001). Survival was longer in patients treated with chemotherapy (> 50% alive with a median follow-up of 25 months compared with a median survival of 13 months for those initially untreated; P = 0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that neither local radiotherapy nor surgery had an effect on survival.
Conclusions: Administration of antileukemic chemotherapy at diagnosis of chloroma is associated with a significantly lower probability of developing acute myeloid leukemia and with longer survival.