All-Trans Retinoic Acid (ATRA) is 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 AML.
ATRA treatment alone can induce remission. Remission is when you have no symptoms of the disease. But doctors often combine it with chemotherapy 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. Then, your doctor may switch your treatment to chemotherapy to prevent resistance to ATRA.
You may receive ATRA as a pill. And you may receive it along with an anthracycline, a type of chemotherapy drug. An example of this type of drug is Daunomycin (daunorubicin). If you can't tolerate treatment with an anthracycline, you may get ATRA and Trisenox (arsenic trioxide) as a first phase of treatment for APL. During a later phase of treatment, you may have it combined with a chemotherapy drug called 6-MP (6-mercaptopurine).