All-Trans Retinoic Acid (ATRA) is a drug derived from vitamin A. Its goal is to put acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) into remission and keep it there. APL is a rare subtype of acute myeloid leukemia.
ATRA treatment alone can often induce remission. Remission is when you have no symptoms of the disease. But doctors often combine it with chemotherapy or with a drug called Trisenox (arsenic trioxide) for the best results. Doctors may use ATRA again during the maintenance phase for at least one year. The goal of maintenance is to keep you in remission and prevent a relapse.
You take ATRA as a pill. You may receive it along with an anthracycline, a type of chemotherapy drug. An example of this type of drug is Daunomycin (daunorubicin). Or you may get ATRA and arsenic trioxide as treatment for APL. During a later phase of treatment, you may have it combined with chemotherapy drugs, such as 6-MP (6-mercaptopurine) and methotrexate.