The Dana Farber Consortium Protocol for the Treatment of Adolescents and Young Adults With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: A Single Institution Experience in Saudi Arabia

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In this retrospective study we sought to evaluate the feasibility of using the Dana Farber Consortium Protocol in Saudi adolescents and young adult patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The 3-year leukemia-free survival and overall survival rates were 70.2% and 72.5%, respectively. Toxicities included infection, mortality during induction, and pancreatitis, but the incidence and severity of osteonecrosis were less than in Western populations, and no venous thromboembolism was found with the use of enoxaparin prophylaxis.


Recent retrospective analyses and phase II trials have shown differential outcomes in adolescents and young adults when treated with pediatric compared with adult protocols. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and toxicity of the Dana Farber Consortium Protocol (DFCP) in Saudi young adults diagnosed with de novo acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Patients and Methods:

In this retrospective study we included 38 patients with de novo ALL who presented to King Abdulla Medical City in the period from June 2010 to March 2015 and received the DFCP (Princess Margret modified version).


A total of 38 patients were included with a median age of 19 years. Two patients died during induction treatment, and 35 of 38 patients achieved complete remission (92.1%). With a median follow-up period of 22 months, at 1 and 3 years, leukemia-free survival was 80% and 68%, respectively, and overall survival was 88% and 72%, respectively. Age younger than 21 years showed a significant association with longer survival. Toxicities included febrile neutropenia in all patients during induction, typhilitis in 8/38 (21%), pneumonia in 10/38 (26%), and pancreatitis in 5/38 patients (13%), 3/38 (7.8%) during induction and 2/38 (5.2%) during intensification. Osteonecrosis affected 3/38 patients (7.8%), and was detected during screening in 2/38 (5.2%) of these patients. There were no fractures or surgical interventions, and no venous thromboembolism was recorded.


Although it might be feasible to use pediatric-inspired protocols in this age group, toxicity cannot be overlooked, and the application of these protocols might require modification of drug doses or schedules relative to those used for younger children. Moreover, additional surveillance and supportive measures should be implemented to maximize benefits while minimizing toxicity.

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