Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation following unsuccessful salvage treatment for relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children

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Background.For children who experience a re-induction failure or multiple recurrences following the first relapse of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), it is uncertain whether additional intensive chemotherapy aimed at hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (SCT) in complete remission (CR) or immediate SCT even in non-CR should be performed. This study aimed to investigate the impact of disease status at SCT on the outcomes of SCT for these children, whose prognosis is considered unquestionably poor even with SCT.Procedure.The medical records of 55 children with ALL who underwent SCT following the experience of re-induction failure (n = 25) or multiple relapses (n = 30) were retrospectively analyzed.Results.Twenty-one patients underwent SCT in CR (delayed CR2, CR3, and CR4) and 34 in non-CR (first or subsequent relapse). The probability of overall survival of patients with CR and with non-CR at SCT was 42.9% and 23.5% (P = 0.15), leukemia-free survival was 38.1% and 20.6% (P = 0.18), and the cumulative incidence of relapse at 2 years was 23.8% and 50%, respectively (P = 0.05). In multivariate analysis, non-CR at SCT was a significant risk factor for higher relapse incidence and male sex was a significant risk factor for lower survival.Conclusions.Our results indicated that in case of tolerable patient condition, further re-induction chemotherapy might be reasonable so that SCT could be performed in CR, which might result in a low incidence of relapse after SCT. Novel approaches are required to induce CR for the treatment of children with relapsed/refractory ALL. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2015;62:674–679. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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