Continuing (maintenance) therapy in lymphoblastic leukaemia: lessons from MRC UKALL X. Medical Research Council Working Party in Childhood Leukaemia.
Chessells JM., Harrison G., Lilleyman JS., Bailey CC., Richards SM.
The relationship between the prescribed dose of drugs during continuing (maintenance) therapy, the degree of marrow suppression caused, and subsequent event-free survival was examined in a cohort of 740 children with lymphoblastic leukaemia treated on MRC UKALL X. Girls, younger children, and patients who had received intensification treatment, were prescribed lower doses of mercaptopurine, became neutropenic more readily, and had more interruptions of treatment. Children who had one or more episodes of neutropenia with a count of <0.5 x 10(9)/l had a better prognosis than those who never became neutropenic. We conclude that early intensification treatment influences the probability of neutropenia during continuing treatment and that patients exhibiting myelosuppression during this phase of treatment have a better chance of prolonged remission.