Evaluation of event-free survival as a robust end point in untreated acute myeloid leukemia (Alliance A151614)

Blood Adv. 2019 Jun 11;3(11):1714-1721. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2018026112.


Event-free survival (EFS) is controversial as an end point for speeding approvals in newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We aimed to examine the robustness of EFS, specifically timing of complete remission (CR) in defining induction failure and impact of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). The study included 1884 untreated AML patients enrolled across 5 trials conducted through Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology using anthracycline and cytarabine induction chemotherapy. EFS was defined as time from randomization/registration to induction failure, relapse, or death. Three definitions of induction failure were evaluated: failure to achieve CR by 60 days after randomization/registration, failure to achieve CR by the end of all protocol-defined induction courses, and failure to achieve CR by the end of all protocol-defined treatment. We considered either censoring or no censoring at time of non-protocol-mandated HCT. Although relapse and death are firm end points, the determination of induction failure was not consistent across studies. There was minimal impact of censoring at HCT on EFS estimates; however, median EFS estimates differed considerably based on the timing of CR in defining induction failure, with the magnitude of difference being large enough in most cases to lead to incorrect conclusions about efficacy in a single-arm trial, if the trial definition was not consistent with the definition used for the historical control. Timing of CR should be carefully examined in the historical control data used to guide the design of single-arm trials using EFS as the primary end point. Trials were registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00085124, #NCT00416598, # NCT00651261, #NCT01238211, and #NCT01253070.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Allografts
  • Anthracyclines / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage*
  • Cytarabine / administration & dosage
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Induction Chemotherapy
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / mortality*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Survival Rate


  • Anthracyclines
  • Cytarabine

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00416598
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00085124
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01253070
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00651261
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01238211