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  • Results of treatment of children with refractory anaemia with excess blasts (RAEB) and RAEB in transformation (RAEBt) in Great Britain 1990-99.

    29 August 2018

    Between 1990 and 1999, 36 children with refractory anaemia with excess blasts (RAEB) and RAEB in transformation (RAEBt), not associated with Down's syndrome, were diagnosed in Britain. A total of 31 children received intensive chemotherapy, six of whom proceeded to a bone marrow allograft in first remission, whereas two received an autograft. Of the 23 given chemotherapy only, four died of toxicity, 10 relapsed and nine are alive in first remission. Out of the 10 who relapsed, four are alive and disease-free following an allograft. Out of the 6 children given an allograft in first remission, two died of disease and four are alive in first remission. Both children given an autograft died of disease. Two children received an allograft without prior chemotherapy but died of toxicity. Three children received supportive care only, and one child survived. The overall survival was 51% at 5 years, and was superior in children with RAEBt (63%) compared with RAEB (28%, P = 0.03). Cytogenetics were available in 35 cases. Monosomy 7 was the most common abnormality (33% of cases). Survival in children with monosomy 7 was 22% at 5 years compared with 66% for the other patients (P = 0.05). Allowing for cytogenetics, outcomes of therapy appear similar to those for de novo acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), and it is appropriate for children with RAEB/RAEBt to be registered in AML trials.

  • Determinants of outcome after intensified therapy of childhood lymphoblastic leukaemia: results from Medical Research Council United Kingdom acute lymphoblastic leukaemia XI protocol.

    29 August 2018

    The single most important prognostic determinant in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is effective therapy and changes in therapy may influence the significance of other risk factors. The effect of intensified therapy on the importance of currently recognized phenotypic and genotypic determinants of outcome was assessed in 2090 children enrolled on the Medical Research Council United Kingdom acute lymphoblastic leukaemia XI (MRC UKALL XI) protocol. Treatment allocation was not determined by risk factors. Multivariate analysis confirmed the dominant influence on prognosis of age, sex and presenting white cell count (WCC). After allowing for these features, blast karyotype, d 8 marrow blast percentage and remission status at the end of induction therapy were the only remaining significant predictors of outcome. Organomegaly, haemoglobin concentration, French--American--British type, body mass index, presence of central nervous system disease at diagnosis, immunophenotype and presence of TEL/AML1 fusion gene (examined in a subset of 659 patients) either had no significant effect on outcome or were significant only in univariate analysis. Among karyotype abnormalities with an independent influence on prognosis, high hyperdiploidy (> 50 chromosomes) was shown to be favourable, whereas near haploidy (23--29 chromosomes), presence of the Philadelphia chromosome, t(4;11) and abnormalities affecting the short arm of chromosome 9 [abn (9p)] were adverse risk factors. Early responders to therapy, determined by residual marrow infiltration after 8 d of induction therapy, had a good outcome, while the small proportion of patients who did not achieve a complete remission by the end of induction therapy had a poor outcome. A third block of late intensification was shown to improve event-free survival by 8% at 5 years. The effect of these risk factors was not significantly different between those randomized to the third intensification block and those not randomized to a third block.

  • Prognostic factors and outcome for children after second central nervous system relapse of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

    29 August 2018

    The Medical Research Council acute lymphoblastic leukaemia trials (UKALL X and XI) recruited 3,702 children with ALL between January 1985 and March 1997. Seventy-nine children had central nervous system (CNS) involvement in their first two relapses. Fourteen children survived at a median follow-up of 22 months from second relapse; seven (9%) in third remission, two in later remissions and five with disease. Factors predictive of survival from second relapse were site (isolated CNS was better than combined CNS, P = 0.02) and time from diagnosis to second CNS relapse (longer time was better, P = 0.004). Prognosis after second CNS relapse is extremely poor, and palliative therapy is appropriate.

  • The UK experience in treating relapsed childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: a report on the medical research council UKALLR1 study.

    29 August 2018

    We have examined the toxicity and overall outcome of the Medical Research Council UKALL R1 protocol for 256 patients with relapsed childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). Second remission was achieved in over 95% of patients. Two patients died during induction and seven patients died of resistant disease. The overall actuarial event-free survival (EFS) at 5 years for all patients experiencing a first relapse was 46% (95% CI 40-52). Duration of first remission, site of relapse, age at diagnosis and sex emerged as factors of prognostic significance. Five-year EFS was only 7% for children relapsing in the bone marrow within 2 years of diagnosis, but was 77% for those relapsing without bone marrow involvement > 2.5 years from diagnosis. All analyses in this report are by treatment received. For those receiving chemotherapy alone, the 5-year EFS was 48%; for autologous bone marrow transplantation (BMT), the 5-year EFS was 47%; for unrelated donor BMT, it was 52%; and for related donor BMT, the 5-year EFS was 45%. The groups, however, were not comparable with respect to risk factor profile, and therefore direct comparison of EFS is misleading. Adjustment for time to transplant and prognostic factors was used to reduce the effects of biases between treatment groups, but did not suggest benefit for any particular treatment. There was failure of our planned randomization scheme in this trial with only 9% of those eligible being randomized, which highlights the difficulties in running randomized trials especially in patients who have relapsed from a previous trial. The optimal treatment for relapsed ALL therefore remains uncertain. Alternative approaches are clearly needed for those with early bone marrow relapse if outcome is to improve.

  • Cytogenetics adds independent prognostic information in adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia on MRC trial UKALL XA. MRC Adult Leukaemia Working Party.

    29 August 2018

    Cytogenetic classification of 350 adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia on MRC UKALL XA trial showed the following statistically significant associations: t(9;22) (11%) increased with increasing age and leucocyte counts (WBC) and most had a C/pre-B immunophenotype. t(4;11) (3%) was associated with higher WBCs, increasing age and null immunophenotype. Other abnormalities of 11q (abn11q) (4%) were associated with male sex and T-cell ALL. High hyperdiploidy (7%) and abn9p (5%) decreased with increasing WBC. High hyperdiploid patients were younger and tended to have C/pre-B ALL. Triploidy/tetraploidy (3%) decreased and pseudodiploidy (11%) increased with increasing WBC. Cytogenetic classification was prognostically important (chi-square for heterogeneity of classification = 53.56; P < 0.0001) and added significance to age, sex and WBC. A poor prognosis for patients classed as t(9;22) (13% disease-free survival at 3 years), as t(4;11) 24% at 3 years) and hypodiploid (11% at 3 years), and good prognosis for abn12p (4% of subjects) and high hyperdiploidy (74% and 59% at 3 years respectively) were statistically significant, but the 54% 3-year disease-free survival for patients with t(1;19) was not. The prognosis of patients classed as t(9;22) was independent of other single variables. Abn12p, abnormalities of 11q (including t(4;11) cases) and hypodiploidy added prognostic significance to all other variables combined.

  • Antigen receptor gene rearrangements reflect on the heterogeneity of adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) with implications of cell-origin of ALL subgroups - a UKALLXII study.

    29 August 2018

    Cytogenetic and molecular investigations of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) have identified the existence of distinct clinical subgroups. Molecular monitoring of clonal Immunoglobulin and T cell receptor (IG/TR) gene rearrangements has become an important tool in stratification of therapy of ALL. In order to determine whether certain features of the patient-specific rearrangements could hold further prognostic clues or provide information on the cell of origin of ALL, a comprehensive analysis of structural and biological features (V gene usage, coding frame and mutational status and complementarity-determining region -III length) of 473 IG/TR rearrangements identified in 229 adults with ALL was carried out. Distinct variable-gene usage profiles were identified between ALL subgroups, particularly for patients positive for BCR-ABL1 compared to MLL-AFF1 positive leukaemias; suggesting that the former is derived from a more mature B progenitor. Interestingly, occurrence of TRGV1-TRGV8 was prognostic for better event-free survival (31% at 4 years with vs. 0% at 4 years without, P = 0.05). The heterogeneity in clinical outcome is suggested by the basic molecular processes of antigen receptor gene rearrangements as shown in this work.

  • Use of standardized flow cytometric determinants of multidrug resistance to analyse response to remission induction chemotherapy in patients with acute myeloblastic leukaemia.

    29 August 2018

    We have used a combination of flow cytometric assays to define multidrug resistance (MDR) positive and negative blasts in cryopreserved samples from 47 MRC trial patients with acute myeloblastic leukaemia (AML). Our primary test is a standardized assay for daunorubicin accumulation. Confirmatory assays for MDR comprised the cyclosporin modulation assay for rhodamine-123 uptake as a measure of functional P-glycoprotein and the measurement of lung resistance protein and multidrug resistance associated protein (with LRP-56 and MRPr1 respectively). 57% of samples had both low accumulation and at least one positive confirmatory test. 32% were MDR negative in all four assays. 15% of patients had primary chemo-resistant disease. Resistant disease rates were 22% for confirmed MDR-positive patients and 0% for confirmed MDR-negative patients (P=0.07). Complete remission was achieved in 74% of patients, with rates of 63% in confirmed MDR-positive patients and 93% in confirmed MDR-negative patients (P=0.06). The use of a standardized method for daunorubicin uptake, combined with the use of confirmatory tests, should reduce the uncertainty that is currently characteristic of MDR evaluation in leukaemia. In comparison with daunorubicin uptake, p-gp expression, measured using MRK-16 antibody, was more closely associated with remission rates (P =0.01). This suggests an additional role for p-glycoprotein in mediating drug resistance beyond that of a drug efflux pump.

  • Minimal residual disease is a significant predictor of treatment failure in non T-lineage adult acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: final results of the international trial UKALL XII/ECOG2993.

    29 August 2018

    The predictive value of molecular minimal residual disease (MRD) monitoring using polymerase chain reaction amplification of clone-specific immunoglobulin or T-cell Receptor rearrangements was analysed in 161 patients with non T-lineage Philadelphia-negative acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) participating in the UK arm of the international ALL trial UKALL XII/Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) 2993. MRD positivity (> or =10(-4)) in patients treated with chemotherapy alone was associated with significantly shorter relapse-free survival (RFS) at several time-points during the first year of therapy. MRD status best discriminated outcome after phase 2 induction, when the relative risk of relapse was 8.95 (2.85-28.09)-fold higher in MRD-positive (> or =10(-4)) patients and the 5-year RFS 15% [95% confidence interval (CI) 0-40%] compared to 71% (56-85%) in MRD-negative (<10(-4)) patients (P = 0.0002) When MRD was detected prior to autologous stem cell transplantation (SCT), a significantly higher rate of treatment failure was observed [5-year RFS 25% (CI 0-55%) vs. 77% (95% CI 54-100%) in MRD-negative/<10(-4), P = 0.01] whereas in recipients of allogeneic-SCT in first complete remission, MRD positivity pre-transplant did not adversely affect outcome. These data provide a rationale for introducing MRD-based risk stratification in future studies for the delineation of those at significant risk of treatment failure in whom intensification of therapy should be evaluated.