Successful Outcomes of Newly Diagnosed T Lymphoblastic Lymphoma: Results From Children's Oncology Group AALL0434

J Clin Oncol. 2020 Sep 10;38(26):3062-3070. doi: 10.1200/JCO.20.00531. Epub 2020 Jun 17.


Purpose: The Children's Oncology Group (COG) protocol AALL0434 evaluated the safety and efficacy of multi-agent chemotherapy with Capizzi-based methotrexate/pegaspargase (C-MTX) in patients with newly diagnosed pediatric T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma (T-LL) and gained preliminary data using nelarabine in high-risk patients.

Patients and methods: The trial enrolled 299 patients, age 1-31 years. High-risk (HR) patients had ≥ 1% minimal detectable disease (MDD) in the bone marrow at diagnosis or received prior steroid treatment. Induction failure was defined as failure to achieve a partial response (PR) by the end of the 4-week induction. All patients received the augmented Berlin-Frankfurt-Muenster (ABFM) C-MTX regimen. HR patients were randomly assigned to receive or not receive 6 5-day courses of nelarabine incorporated into ABFM. Patients with induction failure were nonrandomly assigned to ABFM C-MTX plus nelarabine. No patients received prophylactic cranial radiation; however, patients with CNS3 disease (CSF WBC ≥ 5/μL with blasts or cranial nerve palsies, brain/eye involvement, or hypothalamic syndrome) were ineligible.

Results: At end-induction, 98.8% of evaluable participants had at least a PR. The 4-year event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) were 84.7% ± 2.3% and 89.0% ± 2.0%. The 4-year disease-free survival (DFS) from end-induction was 85.9% ± 2.6%. There was no difference in DFS observed between the HR and standard-risk groups (P = .29) or by treatment regimen (P = .55). Disease stage, tumor response, and MDD at diagnosis did not demonstrate thresholds that resulted in differences in EFS. Nelarabine did not show an advantage for HR patients. CNS relapse occurred in only 4 patients.

Conclusion: COG AALL0434 produced excellent outcomes in one of the largest trials ever conducted for patients with newly diagnosed T-LL. The COG ABFM regimen with C-MTX provided excellent EFS and OS without cranial radiation.

Trial registration: NCT00408005.

Publication types

  • 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
  • Age Factors
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Arabinonucleosides / adverse effects
  • Arabinonucleosides / therapeutic use*
  • Asparaginase / adverse effects
  • Asparaginase / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / adverse effects
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / adverse effects
  • Polyethylene Glycols / therapeutic use*
  • Precursor T-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / diagnosis
  • Precursor T-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / drug therapy*
  • Precursor T-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / mortality
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Arabinonucleosides
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • nelarabine
  • pegaspargase
  • Asparaginase
  • Methotrexate

Associated data