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Treatment of Recurrent ALL

Note: Some citations in the text of this section are followed by a level of evidence. The PDQ Pediatric Treatment Editorial Board uses a formal ranking system to help the reader judge the strength of evidence linked to the reported results of a therapeutic strategy. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Levels of Evidence for more information.)

Prognostic Factors in Recurrent ALL

The prognosis for a child with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) whose disease recurs depends on the time from diagnosis to relapse and site of relapse, as well as cytogenetics and immunophenotype.[1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13]; [14][Level of evidence: 3iiDi] For patients with relapsed B-precursor ALL, early relapses fare worse than later relapses, and marrow relapses fare worse than isolated extramedullary relapses. For instance, survival rates after marrow relapse range from less than 20% for patients with marrow relapses occurring within 18 months from diagnosis to 40% to 50% for those whose relapses occur more than 36 months from diagnosis.[5,13] For patients with isolated central nervous system (CNS) relapses, the overall survival (OS) rates for early relapse (<18 months from diagnosis) are 40% to 50% and are 75% to 80% for those with late relapses (>18 months from diagnosis).[13,15] No evidence exists that early detection of relapse by frequent surveillance (complete blood counts or bone marrow tests) in off-therapy patients improves outcome.[16]

Patients who have combined marrow/extramedullary relapses fare better than those with isolated marrow relapses.[5,13] The Berlin-Frankfurt-Muenster (BFM) group has also reported that high peripheral blast counts at the time of relapse (>10,000/?L) were associated with inferior outcomes in patients with late marrow relapses.[10] The Children's Oncology Group (COG) reported that risk group classification at the time of initial diagnosis was prognostically significant after relapse; patients who met National Cancer Institute (NCI) standard-risk criteria at initial diagnosis fared better after relapse than did NCI high-risk patients.[13] Age older than 10 years has also been reported as an independent predictor of poor outcome.[13]

Immunophenotype is an important prognostic factor at relapse. Patients with T-cell ALL who experience a marrow relapse (isolated or combined) at any point during treatment or posttreatment have a very poor prognosis.[5]

Patients with marrow relapses who have persistent morphologic disease at the end of the first month of reinduction therapy have an extremely poor prognosis, even if they subsequently achieve a second remission (CR2).[17][Level of evidence: 2Di] Several studies have demonstrated that minimal residual disease (MRD) levels after the achievement of CR2 are of prognostic significance in relapsed ALL.[17,18,19,20]; [21][Level of evidence: 3iiiDi] High levels of MRD at the end of reinduction and at later time points have been correlated with an extremely high risk of subsequent relapse.

1|2|3|4|5|6|7

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: May 16, 2012
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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