Background: Despite improvements in the treatment of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia, approximately one in five patients will develop recurrent disease. The majority of these patients do not survive. This limited institution study sought to improve event-free survival (EFS) by intensification of chemotherapy.
Procedure: Twenty-one patients with either an isolated marrow (n = 16) or a combined marrow and central nervous system relapse (n = 5) received treatment according to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia protocol CHP-540. Six patients had an initial remission of <36 months, and five patients had relapsed within 1 year of completion of phase III therapy. Induction and reinduction therapy consisted of idarubicin, vincristine, dexamethasone, asparaginase, and triple intrathecal chemotherapy. Consolidation and reconsolidation therapy employed high-dose cytarabine, etoposide, and asparaginase given in a sequential manner. Maintenance therapy included courses of high- or low-dose cytarabine followed by sequential etoposide and asparaginase pulse, moderate-dose methotrexate with delayed leukovorin rescue, and vincristine/dexamethasone pulses. Therapy continued for 2 years from the start of interim maintenance in the 16 patients who did not receive a bone marrow transplant (BMT). Two patients underwent an HLA-identical sibling BMT specified by protocol. Four received a nonprotocol-prescribed alternative donor BMT.
Results: The complete remission induction rate was 95%. With a median follow-up from date of relapse of 49 months in survivors, the actuarial EFS based on intent to treat is 75%. There were three toxic deaths in patients in CR and two deaths from relapse.
Conclusions: This regimen is toxic but effective and deserves study in a larger setting.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.