Br. J. Haematol. 2003-11-01
Long-term follow-up of relapsed childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.   
We have reviewed the outcome after relapse in a cohort of 505 children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) seen at a single institution. The majority of relapses (74%) occurred within 3 years from diagnosis, and most involved the bone marrow alone or with overt extramedullary relapse. Early relapse was more common in children with T-ALL and those with unfavourable cytogenetics. Factors influencing second remission included length of first remission and type of relapse. Children who had not received previous cranial irradiation had a superior survival. The German relapse score involving length of first remission, site of relapse and immunophenotype was highly predictive of outcome: event-free survival with 95% confidence intervals at 6 years for patients who received modern treatment [intensive chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation (BMT)] was 78% (51-92%) for standard risk, 41% (33-49%) for intermediate risk and 19% (10-31%) for highest risk. Retrospective comparison of BMT with chemotherapy showed no difference in the intermediate-risk group but a possible advantage in the highest risk group. Follow-up of 235 patients who relapsed after chemotherapy and received a third course of treatment showed an extremely high early attrition rate, but a small number of patients survived in third remission. We conclude that new approaches are needed to individualize therapy in intermediate-risk patients and to improve the outcome for those in the highest risk group. Only a small number of children can be treated effectively in third remission.

Related Questions

What dose do you recommend?