One hundred seventy adult patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or acute undifferentiated leukemia (AUL) were entered into a prospective multicenter therapy trial at 25 hospitals. The aim of the trial was to improve remission duration by using a modified form of an intensified induction regimen that was successful in childhood ALL, to define immunologic subtypes of ALL by use of cell-surface markers, and to extract other possible prognostic factors. The overall complete remission rate was 77.8%. The median overall survival time was 26 months, being 4 months for nonresponders and 32 months for responders. The median remission duration for the 126 patients with complete remission was 20 months. Prognostically favorable factors for remission duration were response to chemotherapy within 4 weeks, age less than 35 years, a low initial leukocyte count, and the immunologic subtypes c- ALL with early response to therapy and T-ALL, where 61% and 58%, respectively, are still in complete remission at 3 years. An adverse influence on remission duration was observed for the subtype null-ALL, with a median survival of 13 months, and for patients with a delayed response to induction therapy, independent of phenotype.

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