A prospective, randomized trial was initiated in adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) to compare (1) disease-free survival (DFS) after allogeneic or autologous bone marrow transplantation (BMT) and (2) the relapse rate of patients treated with or without interleukin-2 (IL-2) after autologous BMT. A total of 135 previously untreated patients, aged under 55 years, received the Berlin-Frankfurt-Muster (BFM) induction regimen: 126 patients (93%), of which 120 were HLA- typed, achieved complete remission (CR). According to this genetic randomization, patients with (n = 43) or without an HLA-identical sibling (n = 77) were to receive allogeneic or autologous BMT, respectively. The 3-year post-CR probability of DFS was significantly higher in the HLA-identical sibling group than in the non-HLA-identical sibling group (68% v 26%; P < .001). Eligible patients were randomized to receive (n = 30) or not to receive (n = 30) IL-2 after autologous BMT: the 3-year post-BMT probability of continuous CR was similar in both groups (29% v 27%, respectively). We conclude that, in ALL, early allogeneic BMT after the BFM induction regimen is an effective consolidation treatment and that IL-2 does not decrease the high relapse rate observed after autologous BMT.

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