High-dose methotrexate therapy significantly improved survival of adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a phase III study by JALSG

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High-dose methotrexate (Hd-MTX) therapy has recently been applied to the treatment of adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) based on pediatric protocols; however, its effectiveness for adult ALL has not yet been confirmed in a rigorous manner. We herein conducted a randomized phase III trial comparing Hd-MTX therapy with intermediate-dose (Id)-MTX therapy. This study was registered at UMIN-CTR (ID: C000000063). Philadelphia chromosome (Ph)-negative ALL patients aged between 25 and 64 years of age were enrolled. Patients who achieved complete remission (CR) were randomly assigned to receive therapy containing Hd-MTX (3 g/m2) or Id-MTX (0.5 g/m2). A total of 360 patients were enrolled. The CR rate was 86%. A total of 115 and 114 patients were assigned to the Hd-MTX and Id-MTX groups, respectively. The estimated 5-year disease-free survival rate of the Hd-MTX group was 58%, which was significantly better than that of the Id-MTX group at 32% (P = 0.0218). The frequencies of severe adverse events were not significantly different. We herein demonstrated the effectiveness and safety of Hd-MTX therapy for adult Ph-negative ALL. Our results provide a strong rationale for protocols containing Hd-MTX therapy being applied to the treatment of adult ALL.

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