All-trans-retinoic acid-induced myositis: a description of two patients

H J van Der Vliet, A E Roberson, M C Hogan, C E Morales, S C Crader, L Letendre, R K Pruthi

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All-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) induces complete clinical remissions in a high proportion of patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia and has become the standard induction therapy. Its use as a single agent results in short-lived remissions; thus, cytotoxic drugs are used for "consolidation" therapy. Side effects reported during treatment with ATRA include retinoic acid syndrome and Sweet's syndrome. Sweet's syndrome has been associated with acute myelogenous leukemia at presentation, but only two cases of Sweet's syndrome involving the musculoskeletal system in patients treated with ATRA have been described. We describe two additional patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia who had unexplained fever and myalgias (cutaneous lesions in one patient) during induction therapy with ATRA. Radiologic findings were similar to those in previously reported ATRA-associated Sweet's syndrome of the musculoskeletal system. The clinical course was characterized by a rapid resolution of the symptoms during treatment with dexamethasone. Recognition of the syndrome is important, especially considering the rapid resolution of symptoms after early institution of therapy with corticosteroids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-8
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of hematology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2000


  • Adult
  • Dexamethasone/therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Fever/etiology
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute/drug therapy
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal/drug effects
  • Myositis/chemically induced
  • Sweet Syndrome/drug therapy
  • Tretinoin/adverse effects

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