Effect of Tandem Autologous Stem Cell Transplant vs Single Transplant on Event-Free Survival in Patients With High-Risk Neuroblastoma: A Randomized Clinical Trial

JAMA. 2019 Aug 27;322(8):746-755. doi: 10.1001/jama.2019.11642.


Importance: Induction chemotherapy followed by high-dose therapy with autologous stem cell transplant and subsequent antidisialoganglioside antibody immunotherapy is standard of care for patients with high-risk neuroblastoma, but survival rate among these patients remains low.

Objective: To determine if tandem autologous transplant improves event-free survival (EFS) compared with single transplant.

Design, setting, and participants: Patients were enrolled in this randomized clinical trial from November 2007 to February 2012 at 142 Children's Oncology Group centers in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand. A total of 652 eligible patients aged 30 years or younger with protocol-defined high-risk neuroblastoma were enrolled and 355 were randomized. The final date of follow-up was June 29, 2017, and the data analyses cut-off date was June 30, 2017.

Interventions: Patients were randomized to receive tandem transplant with thiotepa/cyclophosphamide followed by dose-reduced carboplatin/etoposide/melphalan (n = 176) or single transplant with carboplatin/etoposide/melphalan (n = 179).

Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was EFS from randomization to the occurrence of the first event (relapse, progression, secondary malignancy, or death from any cause). The study was designed to test the 1-sided hypothesis of superiority of tandem transplant compared with single transplant.

Results: Among the 652 eligible patients enrolled, 297 did not undergo randomization because they were nonrandomly assigned (n = 27), ineligible for randomization (n = 62), had no therapy (n = 1), or because of physician/parent preference (n = 207). Among 355 patients randomized (median diagnosis age, 36.1 months; 152 [42.8%] female), 297 patients (83.7%) completed the study and 21 (5.9%) were lost to follow-up after completing protocol therapy. Three-year EFS from the time of randomization was 61.6% (95% CI, 54.3%-68.9%) in the tandem transplant group and 48.4% (95% CI, 41.0%-55.7%) in the single transplant group (1-sided log-rank P=.006). The median (range) duration of follow-up after randomization for 181 patients without an event was 5.6 (0.6-8.9) years. The most common significant toxicities following tandem vs single transplant were mucosal (11.7% vs 15.4%) and infectious (17.9% vs 18.3%).

Conclusions and relevance: Among patients aged 30 years or younger with high-risk neuroblastoma, tandem transplant resulted in a significantly better EFS than single transplant. However, because of the low randomization rate, the findings may not be representative of all patients with high-risk neuroblastoma.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00567567.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Consolidation Chemotherapy
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Induction Chemotherapy*
  • Infant
  • Intention to Treat Analysis
  • Male
  • Neuroblastoma / drug therapy
  • Neuroblastoma / therapy*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00567567