Fifty-three patients with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) under age 50 with a histocompatible sibling donor received high-dose radiochemotherapy followed by allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT). The high-risk factors used to identify the patients were: white blood cell count at initial presentation, cytogenetic abnormalities, age, extramedullary leukemic infiltration, and time from initial therapy to complete remission. Patients with one or more of the above risk factors who received BMT have a disease-free survival of 61% with a median follow-up of 66 months (range 11 months to 10.6 years), and an actuarial relapse rate of 10%. This study demonstrates that patients with high-risk ALL achieve a significant disease-free survival and cure rate with the use of allogeneic fully matched sibling BMT. However, a properly designed prospective study comparing the outcome of BMT with the best currently available chemotherapy data is required to define the ultimate role of BMT in this group of patients.

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