Reduced-intensity therapy for pediatric lymphoblastic leukemia: impact of residual disease early in remission induction.

Citation:
Sidhom, I., K. Shaaban, S. H. Youssef, N. Ali, S. Gohar, W. M. Rashed, M. Mehanna, S. Salem, S. Soliman, D. Yassin, et al., "Reduced-intensity therapy for pediatric lymphoblastic leukemia: impact of residual disease early in remission induction.", Blood, vol. 137, issue 1, pp. 20-28, 2021.

Abstract:

Legacy data show that ∼40% of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) were cured with limited antimetabolite-based chemotherapy regimens. However, identifying patients with very-low-risk (VLR) ALL remains imprecise. Patients selected based on a combination of presenting features and a minimal residual disease (MRD) level <0.01% on day 19 of induction therapy had excellent outcomes with low-intensity treatment. We investigated the impact of MRD levels between 0.001% and <0.01% early in remission induction on the outcome of VLR ALL treated with a low-intensity regimen. Between October of 2011 and September of 2015, 200 consecutive patients with B-precursor ALL with favorable clinicopathologic features and MRD levels <0.01%, as assessed by flow cytometry in the bone marrow on day 19 and at the end of induction therapy, received reduced-intensity therapy. The 5-year event-free survival was 89.5% (± 2.2% standard error [SE]), and the overall survival was 95.5% (± 1.5% SE). The 5-year cumulative incidence of relapse (CIR) was 7% (95% confidence interval, 4-11%). MRD levels were between 0.001% and <0.01% on day 19 in 29 patients. These patients had a 5-year CIR that was significantly higher than that of patients with undetectable residual leukemia (17.2% ± 7.2% vs 5.3% ± 1.7%, respectively; P = .02). Our study shows that children with VLR ALL can be treated successfully with decreased-intensity therapy, and it suggests that the classification criteria for VLR can be further refined by using a more sensitive MRD assay.