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Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Postinduction Treatment for Childhood ALL

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High-risk ALL

In high-risk patients, a number of different approaches have been used with comparable efficacy.[7,19]; [17][Level of evidence: 2Di] Treatment for high-risk patients generally is more intensive than that for standard-risk patients and typically includes higher cumulative doses of multiple agents, including anthracyclines and/or alkylating agents. Higher doses of these agents increase the risk of both short- and long-term toxicities, and many clinical trials have focused on reducing the side effects of these intensified regimens.

Evidence (intensification for high-risk ALL):

  1. In a DFCI ALL Consortium trial, children with high-risk ALL were randomly assigned to receive doxorubicin alone (30 mg/m2 /dose to a cumulative dose of 300 mg/m2) or the same dose of doxorubicin with dexrazoxane during the induction and intensification phases of multiagent chemotherapy. [20,21]
    • The use of the cardioprotectant dexrazoxane prior to doxorubicin resulted in better left ventricular fractional shortening and improved end-systolic dimension Z-scores without any adverse effect on EFS or increase in second malignancy risk compared with the use of doxorubicin alone 5 years posttreatment.
    • A greater long-term protective effect was noted in girls compared with boys.
  2. The former CCG developed an augmented BFM treatment regimen featuring repeated courses of escalating-dose IV methotrexate (without leucovorin rescue) given with vincristine and L-asparaginase during interim maintenance and additional vincristine/L-asparaginase pulses during initial consolidation and delayed intensification. Augmented therapy also included a second interim maintenance and delayed intensification phase.
  3. In the CCG-1882 trial, National Cancer Institute (NCI) high-risk patients with slow early response (M3 marrow on day 7 of induction) were randomly assigned to receive either standard- or augmented-BFM therapy.
    • The augmented therapy regimen in the CCG-1882 trial produced a significantly better EFS than did standard CCG modified BFM therapy.[22]
  4. In an Italian study, investigators showed that two applications of delayed intensification therapy (protocol II) significantly improved outcome for patients with a poor response to a prednisone prophase.[23]
  5. The CCG-1961 study used a 2 × 2 factorial design to compare both standard- versus augmented-intensity therapies and therapies of standard duration (one interim maintenance and delayed intensification phase) versus increased duration (two interim maintenance and delayed intensification phases) among rapid early responders.
    • Augmented therapy was associated with an improvement in EFS; there was no benefit associated with the administration of the second interim maintenance and delayed intensification phases.[24][Level of evidence: 1iiA]
    • There was a significant incidence of osteonecrosis of bone in teenaged patients who received the augmented-BFM regimen.[25]

Very high-risk ALL

Approximately 10% to 20% of patients with ALL are classified as very high risk, including the following:[17,26]

  • Infants.
  • Patients with adverse cytogenetic abnormalities, e.g., t(9;22) or t(4;11).
  • Patients with hypodiploidy (<44 chromosomes) and poor response to initial therapy (e.g., high end-induction minimal residual disease [MRD]).
  • Patients with high absolute blast count after a 7-day steroid prophase.
  • Patients who fail induction therapy, even if they achieve complete remission.
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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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