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


Given the relatively favorable outcome that can be obtained in these patients with chemotherapy regimens used for pediatric ALL, there is no role for the routine use of allogeneic SCT in first remission for adolescents and young adults with ALL.[34]

Evidence (pediatric treatment regimen):

  1. Investigators reported on 197 patients aged 16 to 21 years treated on the CCG study who showed a 7-year EFS of 63% compared with 124 adolescents and young adults treated on the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) study with a 7-year EFS of 34%.[29]
  2. A study from France of patients aged 15 to 20 years and diagnosed between 1993 and 1999 demonstrated superior outcome for patients treated on a pediatric trial (67%; 5-year EFS) compared with patients treated on an adult trial (41%; 5-year EFS).[35]
  3. In the COG high-risk study (CCG-1961), the 5-year EFS rate for 262 patients aged 16 to 21 years was 71.5%.[34][Level of evidence: 1iiDi] For rapid responders randomly assigned to early intensive postinduction therapy on the augmented intensity arms of this study, the 5-year EFS rate was 82% (n = 88).
  4. The DFCI ALL Consortium reported that a study of 51 adolescents aged 15 to 18 years in a pediatric trial had a 5-year EFS of 78%.[27]
  5. In an SJCRH study, 44 adolescents aged 15 to 18 years had an EFS of approximately 85% ± 5%.[36]
  6. In a Spanish study, 35 adolescents (aged 15–18 years) and 46 young adults (aged 19–30 years) with standard-risk ALL were treated with a pediatric-based regimen.[33][Level of evidence: 2A]
    • EFS rate was 61%.
    • The OS rate was 69%.
    • There were no differences in outcome between adolescents and young adults.

Other studies have confirmed that older adolescent patients and young adults fare better on pediatric rather than adult regimens (see Table 3).[27,29,30,31]; [33][Level of evidence: 2A]

The reason that adolescents and young adults achieve superior outcomes with pediatric regimens is not known, although possible explanations include the following: [30]

  • Treatment setting (i.e., site experience in treating ALL).
  • Adherence to protocol therapy.
  • The components of protocol therapy.

Adolescents with ALL appear to be at higher risk than younger children for developing therapy-related complications, including osteonecrosis, deep venous thromboses, and pancreatitis.[27,37,38,39] High body mass index is also a risk factor for osteonecrosis [40] and may be associated with a higher relapse rate in older patients.[41]

Table 3. Outcome According to Treatment Protocol for Adolescents and Young Adults with ALL

Site and Study GroupAdolescent and Young Adult Patients (No.)Median age (y)Survival (%)
ALL = acute lymphoblastic leukemia; EFS = event-free survival; OS = overall survival.
AEIOP = Associazione Italiana Ematologia Oncologia Pediatrica; CALGB = Cancer and Leukemia Group B; CCG = Children's Cancer Group; DCOG = Dutch Childhood Oncology Group; FRALLE = French Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia; GIMEMA = Gruppo Italiano Malattie e Matologiche dell'Adulto; HOVON = Dutch-Belgian Hemato-Oncology Cooperative Group; LALA = France-Belgium Group for Lymphoblastic Acute Leukemia in Adults; MRC = Medical Research Council (United Kingdom); NOPHO = Nordic Society for Pediatric Hematology and Oncology; UKALL = United Kingdom Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
United States[29]   
CCG (Pediatric)1971667, OS 7 y
CALGB (Adult)1241946
FRALLE 93 (Pediatric)771667 EFS
LALA 941001841
AEIOP (Pediatric)1501580, OS 2 y
GIMEMA (Adult)951671
DCOG (Pediatric)471271 EFS
NOPHO 92 (Pediatric)361674, OS 5 y
Adult ALL991839
United Kingdom[31]   
MRC ALL (Pediatric)6115–1771, OS 5 y
UKALL XII (Adult)6715–1756
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