Should adolescents with acute lymphoblastic leukemia be treated as old children or young adults? Comparison of the French FRALLE-93 and LALA-94 trials

J Clin Oncol. 2003 Mar 1;21(5):774-80. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2003.02.053. Epub 2003 Mar 1.


Purpose: To compare pediatric and adult therapeutic practices in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in adolescents.

Patients and methods: From June 1993 to September 1994, 77 and 100 adolescents (15 to 20 years of age) were enrolled in the pediatric FRALLE-93 and adult LALA-94 protocols, respectively. Among the different prognostic factors, we retrospectively analyzed the effect of the trial on achieving complete remission (CR) and event-free survival (EFS).

Results: Patients were younger in the FRALLE-93 than in the LALA-94 protocol (median age, 15.9 v 17.9 years, respectively), but other characteristics were similar, including median WBC count (18 x 10(9) cells/L v 16 x 10(9) cells/L), B/T-lineage (54 of 23 v 72 of 28 patients), CD10-negative ALL (13% v 15%), and poor-risk cytogenetics (t(9;22), t(4;11), or hypodiploidy less than 45 chromosomes: 6% v 5%). The CR rate depended on WBC count (P =.005) and trial (94% v 83% in FRALLE-93 and LALA-94, respectively; P =.04). Univariate analysis showed that unfavorable prognostic factors for EFS were as follows: the trial (estimated 5-year EFS, 67% v 41% for FRALLE-93 and LALA-94, respectively; P <.0001), an increasing WBC count (P <.0001), poor-risk cytogenetics (P =.005), and T-lineage (P =.01). The trial and WBC count remained significant parameters for EFS in multivariate analysis (P <.0001 and P =.0004). Lineage subgroup analysis showed an advantage for the FRALLE-93 trial for CR achievement (98% v 81%; P =.002) and EFS (P =.0002) in B-lineage ALL and for EFS (P =.05) in T-lineage ALL. Age was not a significant prognostic factor in this population of adolescents.

Conclusion: This study's findings indicate that adolescents should be included in intensive pediatric protocols and that new trials should be designed, inspired by pediatric protocols, for the treatment of young adults with ALL.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comment
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Lineage
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cytogenetic Analysis
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • France
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Neprilysin / metabolism
  • Ploidies
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / mortality
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / pathology
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / therapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy
  • Remission Induction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate


  • Neprilysin