Children with Down syndrome (DS) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have an inferior prognosis compared with non-DS ALL patients. We reviewed methotrexate (MTX)/mercaptopurine (6MP) maintenance therapy data for children with DS treated according to the Nordic Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (NOPHO) ALL92 or the NOPHO ALL2000 protocols between 1992 and 2007. The 5-year event-free survival probability (pEFS(5 yr)) for the 66 DS patients was inferior to the 2602 non-DS patients (0.50 ± 0.07 vs 0.77 ± 0.01 (P<0.001)). The 48 DS patients in first remission at the beginning of maintenance therapy had pEFS(10 yr) below that of the 522 non-DS control patients (pEFS(10 yr): 0.58 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.43-0.77) vs 0.83 (95% CI 0.80-0.86), respectively (P<0.0001)). The DS patients received lower median doses of MTX (median: 11.8 vs 15.4 (P<0.0001)) and 6MP (median: 43.6 vs 59.4 (P<0.0001)). In Cox regression analysis, male gender, presence of DS and high median maintenance therapy white blood cell levels (mWBC) were associated with increased risk for relapse. DS-ALL patients with mWBC above or below 3.5 × 10(9)/l (protocol target) had pEFS(10 yr) of 0.31 and 0.72 (P=0.02), and the mWBC hazard ratio for DS-ALL patients was 2.0 (P<0.0005). We conclude that insufficient treatment intensity during maintenance therapy of DS-ALL patients may contribute to their poor prognosis.
Leukemia, 2013, Vol 27, Issue 4, p. 866-70
Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Child; Child, Preschool; Down Syndrome; Female; Guideline Adherence; Humans; Male; Physician's Practice Patterns; Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma