To improve outcome in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), a stratified, randomised study of extended intensified chemotherapy was done. 358 evaluable patients received remission reinforcement therapy (teniposide, cytarabine, high-dose methotrexate) added to a four-drug induction regimen. Those achieving complete remission were randomised on the basis of risk group assignment to conventional continuation treatment or to four pairs of drugs rotated weekly or every 6 weeks. All patients received intrathecal chemotherapy; higher-risk patients also received 1800 cGy cranial irradiation after 1 year of remission. Complete remission was induced in 96% of the patients. At median follow-up of 40 (range 19-73) months, 4-year event-free survival (SE) was 73 (4)% overall, 81 (6)% in the lower-risk group (n=110), and 69 (5)% in the higher-risk group (n=248). Outcome within risk groups was not significantly affected by the speed of rotation of drug pairs during continuation treatment. Various highrisk subgroups had apparently improved responses to this treatment. This intensified chemotherapy may cure 69-77% of children with ALL.
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