Background: The prognosis for patients (pts) with relapsed T-ALL and T-LL is dismal. The primary goal of T-ALL/T-LL treatment is to prevent relapse. In the phase 3 Children's Oncology Group (COG) clinical trial AALL1231 (NCT02112916), children, adolescents and young adults (age 1-30 years) with T-ALL and T-LL were treated with a modified augmented BFM (aBFM) backbone that used dexamethasone as the only corticosteroid and included two (rather than one) doses of pegaspargase during induction and delayed intensification. Pts were stratified as standard (SR), intermediate (IR), or very high risk (VHR), primarily based on disease response: morphology, minimal residual disease (MRD) performed by multiparameter flow cytometry at a central reference laboratory) at end of induction and consolidation (T-ALL), and radiographic response for T-LL. Pts were randomized 1:1 to receive/not receive bortezomib during induction and delayed intensification (1.3mg/m 2 x 4 doses per block).

VHR T-ALL pts were defined as having day 29 M3 marrow (>25% blasts) or end of consolidation (EOC) MRD >0.1%. 10-15% of T-ALL pts were predicted to be VHR based on COG AALL0434. Pts with induction failure (M3 marrow by morphology) or EOC MRD >0.1% were expected to have 4-yr event-free survival (EFS) of ~66+/-16%. Following consolidation, VHR pts received 3 BFM-based intensification blocks in lieu of interim maintenance (IM). Detectable MRD following the intensification blocks was considered an event and these pts were removed from protocol therapy. VHR ALL pts who had undetectable MRD continued protocol therapy, received delayed intensification, an IM phase with Capizzi escalating methotrexate plus pegaspargase, and maintenance. A secondary aim of AALL1231 was to compare survival in VHR T-ALL pts with EOC MRD ≥ 0.1% but undetectable MRD after intensification of chemotherapy with those who continued to have detectable MRD and were eligible for other treatment strategies, including hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). This study also analyzed outcomes for pts with M3 marrow at the end of induction.

Results: AALL1231 accrued 847 pts (824 eligible and evaluable) of 1400 anticipated from 2014 until early closure. The 3-year EFS for the bortezomib randomization for the SR and IR groups has been reported previously (Teachey, et. al ASH 2020). Because only 2 of 209 T-LL pts were VHR; this report focuses on the outcomes of the 5.2% (32/615) of T-ALL pts who were VHR. In total, 25 VHR T-ALL pts were EOC MRD >0.1%, and 18 of these had MRD sent at the end of HR intensification. Of the 8 pts who became MRD undetectable and continued protocol therapy, only 2 survived (3-year overall survival [OS] 25+15.3%). In contrast, 10 pts who had detectable MRD were taken off protocol and underwent HSCT. Of these 10, only one relapsed (3-year OS 90+12.7%). The 3-year OS for the 10 pts who were M3 at Day 29 was 60.0±17.0%. As there were not enough pts to assess the impact of EOC MRD on pts who were M3 at Day 29, we assessed the impact of EOC MRD on outcomes in M2 (5-25% blasts at Day 29; n = 24) and M3 pts, which defines induction failure in other cooperative groups. M2+M3 T-ALL who were EOC MRD <0.1% (n = 15) had 3-year OS of 86.7±10.0% vs 45.5±15.0% for those with EOC MRD >0.1% (n = 12) pts.

Conclusions: T-ALL pts treated on AALL1231 who are EOC MRD ≥0.1% with undetectable MRD after 3 BFM-based intensification blocks had a very poor outcome when treated with standard cytotoxic chemotherapy. In contrast, while patient numbers are small, those pts that remained MRD-positive after 3 intensification blocks and underwent HSCT had an excellent outcome. These data not only impact the recommended treatment for T-ALL pts who are induction and consolidation failures, but also support the importance of the graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effect in refractory T-ALL.


Hayashi:Magenta Therapeutics: Consultancy. August:Jazz: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Hermiston:Sobi: Consultancy; Novartis: Consultancy. Bollard:Cabeletta Bio: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Catamaran Bio and Mana Therapeutics: Other: member and cofounder; SOBI: Other: DSMB. Loh:MediSix therapeutics: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Raetz:Pfizer: Research Funding; Celgene: Other: DSMB member. Teachey:BEAM Therapeutics: Consultancy, Research Funding; NeoImmune Tech: Research Funding; Sobi: Consultancy; Janssen: Consultancy.

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