Age Acts as an Adverse Independent Variable for Survival in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Data From a Cohort in Northeast Mexico

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Abstract

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a highly heterogeneous disease whose clinical course and outcome are strongly influenced by age. A cohort including 377 patients of all ages from a low-middle income and homogeneous population receiving standardized treatment protocols over a decade was analyzed. Age < 1 and > 20 years was significantly associated with lower overall survival. Infants fared worst.

Background:

Survival for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) decreases with age. Patients across all age groups from a homogeneous ethnic and socioeconomic background were studied to document age effect.

Material and Methods:

Patients diagnosed from 2005 to 2015 at a university hospital in Northeast Mexico were divided into 4 age groups: infants (< 1), children (≥ 1 to < 16), adolescents (≥ 16 to ≤ 20), and adults (> 20 years). Correlation between age at diagnosis and relapse-free (RFS) and overall survival (OS) was investigated.

Results:

A total of 377 patients were included. Five-year RFS and OS for children were 55.6% and 66.9%; for adolescents, 36.0% and 48.3%; for adults, 19.5% and 24.1%, respectively. Differences in RFS and OS between age groups were significant (P < .001, P < .001). In the Cox regression model, all age groups reached statistical significance in univariate analysis of mortality.

Conclusion:

Age plays a decisive role in clinical evolution of ALL and strongly influences outcome. Age older than 20 represents a progressive high-risk factor for death.

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