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Dexamethasone vs prednisone in induction treatment of pediatric ALL: results of the randomized trial AIEOP-BFM ALL 2000


Abstract

Induction therapy for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) traditionally includes prednisone; yet, dexamethasone may have higher antileukemic potency, leading to fewer relapses and improved survival. After a 7-day prednisone prephase, 3720 patients enrolled on trial Associazione Italiana di Ematologia e Oncologia Pediatrica and Berlin-Frankfurt-Münster (AIEOP-BFM) ALL 2000 were randomly selected to receive either dexamethasone (10 mg/m(2) per day) or prednisone (60 mg/m(2) per day) for 3 weeks plus tapering in induction. The 5-year cumulative incidence of relapse (± standard error) was 10.8 ± 0.7% in the dexamethasone and 15.6 ± 0.8% in the prednisone group (P < .0001), showing the largest effect on extramedullary relapses. The benefit of dexamethasone was partially counterbalanced by a significantly higher induction-related death rate (2.5% vs 0.9%, P = .00013), resulting in 5-year event-free survival rates of 83.9 ± 0.9% for dexamethasone and 80.8 ± 0.9% for prednisone (P = .024). No difference was seen in 5-year overall survival (OS) in the total cohort (dexamethasone, 90.3 ± 0.7%; prednisone, 90.5 ± 0.7%). Retrospective analyses of predefined subgroups revealed a significant survival benefit from dexamethasone only for patients with T-cell ALL and good response to the prednisone prephase (prednisone good-response [PGR]) (dexamethasone, 91.4 ± 2.4%; prednisone, 82.6 ± 3.2%; P = .036). In patients with precursor B-cell ALL and PGR, survival after relapse was found to be significantly worse if patients were previously assigned to the dexamethasone arm. We conclude that, for patients with PGR in the large subgroup of precursor B-cell ALL, dexamethasone especially reduced the incidence of better salvageable relapses, resulting in inferior survival after relapse. This explains the lack of benefit from dexamethasone in overall survival that we observed in the total cohort except in the subset of T-cell ALL patients with PGR. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov (BFM: NCT00430118, AIEOP: NCT00613457).

Abstract

Induction therapy for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) traditionally includes prednisone; yet, dexamethasone may have higher antileukemic potency, leading to fewer relapses and improved survival. After a 7-day prednisone prephase, 3720 patients enrolled on trial Associazione Italiana di Ematologia e Oncologia Pediatrica and Berlin-Frankfurt-Münster (AIEOP-BFM) ALL 2000 were randomly selected to receive either dexamethasone (10 mg/m(2) per day) or prednisone (60 mg/m(2) per day) for 3 weeks plus tapering in induction. The 5-year cumulative incidence of relapse (± standard error) was 10.8 ± 0.7% in the dexamethasone and 15.6 ± 0.8% in the prednisone group (P < .0001), showing the largest effect on extramedullary relapses. The benefit of dexamethasone was partially counterbalanced by a significantly higher induction-related death rate (2.5% vs 0.9%, P = .00013), resulting in 5-year event-free survival rates of 83.9 ± 0.9% for dexamethasone and 80.8 ± 0.9% for prednisone (P = .024). No difference was seen in 5-year overall survival (OS) in the total cohort (dexamethasone, 90.3 ± 0.7%; prednisone, 90.5 ± 0.7%). Retrospective analyses of predefined subgroups revealed a significant survival benefit from dexamethasone only for patients with T-cell ALL and good response to the prednisone prephase (prednisone good-response [PGR]) (dexamethasone, 91.4 ± 2.4%; prednisone, 82.6 ± 3.2%; P = .036). In patients with precursor B-cell ALL and PGR, survival after relapse was found to be significantly worse if patients were previously assigned to the dexamethasone arm. We conclude that, for patients with PGR in the large subgroup of precursor B-cell ALL, dexamethasone especially reduced the incidence of better salvageable relapses, resulting in inferior survival after relapse. This explains the lack of benefit from dexamethasone in overall survival that we observed in the total cohort except in the subset of T-cell ALL patients with PGR. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov (BFM: NCT00430118, AIEOP: NCT00613457).

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:28 April 2016
Deposited On:23 Jan 2017 12:46
Last Modified:23 Jan 2017 12:46
Publisher:American Society of Hematology
ISSN:0006-4971
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1182/blood-2015-09-670729
PubMed ID:26888258

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