Background: Oral trans-retinoic acid has recently been shown to be an effective treatment modality for acute promyelocytic leukemia. This type of drug differs from traditional tumoricidal agents by promoting differentiation of the malignant, immature cells. Methods: The authors describe a patient with optic nerve infiltration by acute promyelocytic leukemia documented ophthalmoscopically and confirmed by standardized echography and magnetic resonance imaging. High-resolution chromosome banding revealed the patient had a 15;17 chromosomal translocation known to be associated with acute promyelocytic leukemia. Treatment was instituted with oral all trans-retinoic acid without adjuvant radiotherapy or intrathecal chemotherapy. Results: Results of serial bone marrow examination showed progressive differentiation of malignant cells with complete bone marrow remission. Results of serial ophthalmic examinations showed complete resolution of the leukemic optic nerve head infiltration. Conclusion: All trans-retinoic acid alone can be an effective treatment for optic nerve head infiltration in acute promyelocytic leukemia. This case suggests that radiation therapy may not be necessary in acute promyelocytic leukemia with optic nerve infiltration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas