Critical study of prognostic factors in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: differences in outcome are poorly explained by the most significant prognostic variables. Fralle group. French Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia study group

Br J Haematol. 1998 Aug;102(3):729-39. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2141.1998.00818.x.


We determined the proportion of survival variability explained by the usual prognostic factors in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) during a prognostic study of 1552 patients enrolled in three consecutive Fralle group protocols (Fralle 83, Fralle 87 and Fralle 89). The event-free survival rates at 5 years were 54.8% (SD 1.9), 43.1%) (SD 2.7) and 55.6% (SD 2.2), respectively. In the univariate analysis the following variables were predictive of poor outcome: male gender, elevated leucocytosis (> 50 x 10(9)/l), circulating blastosis. haemoglobin >12 g/dl, platelet count <100 x 10(9)/l, age under 1 year or over 9 years, enlarged mediastinum, nodes, spleen and liver, T phenotype, absence of CD10+ cells; testicular and meningeal involvement, poor response to induction therapy (CCSG M3), and LDH >400 U/l. Among the cytogenetic features, hyperdiploidy had a protective effect, whereas hypodiploidy, translocation and other structural abnormalities had a negative influence, particularly in cases of t(9;22) or t(4;11). Multivariate analysis summarized the prognostic information in terms of four variables: age, gender, leucocytosis and cytogenetic features. Missing data had little influence on the results. However, despite their significance in the multivariate analysis, these four variables each had very low predictive power (1.1% for gender, 2.0% for age, 3.5% for leucocytosis, and 1.6% for cytogenetic features). Thus, the most significant prognostic factors in childhood ALL each explain no more than 4% of the variability in prognosis. This may explain the disappointing practical value of these factors and underlines the need for prognostic tools in childhood ALL.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / mortality*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sex Factors
  • Survival Analysis