Survey of records of 34 Brooklyn hospitals and of selected hospitals elsewhere in New York City revealed records of 623 white residents of Brooklyn diagnosed as having acute leukemia during the period 1943-52. Diagnosis was on the basis of marrow biopsy or autopsy in 79 per cent. Date of death was known for 96 per cent.
Almost half of these patients died within one month of diagnosis, and three quarters before the end of the third month. Ten per cent survived for 6 months and 3 per cent for one year. The mean interval between diagnosis and death was 2.4 months.
The duration of survival after diagnosis was longer for the group of patients in whom the cell type was diagnosed as lymphocytic, than in those diagnosed as granulocytic. Percentage of patients surviving three months was also significantly higher in the lymphocytic than in the granulocytic group.
Average duration of survival was almost twice as long for patients in the first decade as for those in any subsequent age group. Survival was shorter for patients in whom the total white blood cell count taken at diagnosis was high.
Duration of survival after diagnosis increased with increasing duration of symptoms prior to diagnosis. This suggests another limitation to the use for prognostic purposes of the interval between onset of symptoms and death.
No association of survival with sex, religion or ABO blood group was detected.