Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Neyssa Marina

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  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia in a developing country: Preliminary results of a nonrandomized clinical trial in El Salvador JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC HEMATOLOGY ONCOLOGY Bonilla, M., Moreno, N., Marina, N., deReyes, G., Shurtleff, S. A., Downing, J. R., Behm, F. G., Harrison, P. L., Ribeiro, R. C., Pena, O., Crist, W. M., Antillon, F. G. 2000; 22 (6): 495-501


    To improve outcome and study biology of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in El Salvador.Between January 1994 and December 1996, 153 children of El Salvador had newly diagnosed ALL treated in a collaborative program between Hospital Benjamin Bloom and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (SJCRH). Therapy was based on a modified SJCRH protocol, with uniform remission induction (prednisone, vincristine, L-asparaginase) followed-up by consolidation with teniposide/cytarabine and/or high-dose methotrexate. Continuation treatment was risk-stratified: 123 patients assigned to the high-risk group received weekly rotational drug pairs, and 16 assigned to the standard-risk group received daily 6-mercaptopurine, weekly methotrexate, and monthly pulses of vincristine plus dexamethasone. High risk was defined as: DNA index < 1.16, age 12 months or younger, white blood cell count > or = 50 x 10(9)/L, T-cell immunophenotype, anterior mediastinal mass, central nervous system leukemia at diagnosis, or t(4;11), t(1;19), or t(9;22). Duration of the continuation treatment was 2.5 years in both groups. The median age at diagnosis of all patients was 4.8 (range I d-17 yrs), median leukocyte count was 15 (range 1-766) x 10(9)/L, and sex distribution was equal.Immunophenotypes were early beta-progenitor in 79%, T-cell in 3.9%, and inconclusive in 17% of cases. DNA index was <1.16 in 80.5% and was > or = 1.16 in 19.5% of the 123 known cases. For the analyzes, patients who refused therapy (abandoned treatment) were considered to have treatment failure as of their last follow-up dates. Complete remission was achieved in 126 of 151 (82.4%) patients (11 abandoned therapy during induction). The overall 4-year event-free survival (EFS) rate +/- 1 standard error was 48 +/- 6%. The 4-year EFS rates in patients at high-risk and standard-risk were 46 +/- 7% (n = 121) and 69 +/- 15% (n = 16), respectively (P = 0.20). When patients who refused further treatment are censored, the corresponding 4-year estimates of EFS are 51 +/- 8% and 75 +/- 14%, respectively.These results suggest that the biology of childhood ALL in El Salvador appears to be similar to that seen in the United States. Risk-directed chemotherapy can successfully be used in developing countries, but risk factors must be carefully determined and applied.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000165933100004

    View details for PubMedID 11132215

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