Abstract

During the period from January 1970 until December 1973, therapy was started in 41 previously untreated adolescents and adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Induction therapy was started with vincristine and prednisone in all patients, resulting in complete remission in 19 and death due to infection during the first month in one case. After 3 wk on these two drugs, the addition of daunorubicin was required in the remaining 21 patients. Fifteen of these obtained remission, one died during induction therapy, and five patients were unresponsive to this therapy, as well as to all subsequent induction schemes. The overall remission rate was 83%. Significantly higher initial leukocyte counts were found in the group treated with vincristine, prednisone, and daunorubicin. Meningeal leukemia prophylaxis, by either periodic methotrexate injections given intrathecally or a combination of cranial irradiation and intrathecally administrated methotrexate, was administered in 29 therapy responders. The median duration of complete remission obtained with various maintenance therapy schemes was 13 mo. No differences were seen in the results obtained in patients between 14 and 20 yr of age and older patients. Twenty-two patients relapsed within 2–37 mo. Relapses were confined to the central nervous system in two cases, to the bone marrow in 18, and to the bone marrow and CNS simultaneously in two. A second remission was obtained in 17 cases (77%). The median survival time of the whole group was 27 mo, as compared with 32 mo for therapy responders and 7 mo for the nonresponders. The percentage and duration of remission and the survival time in our group of adolescents and adults were comparable to those currently being achieved in other centers, but not as good as those reported for children treated with the same protocol.

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