Purpose: To describe the occurrence of secondary acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) treated with etoposide (VP- 16). Patients and Methods: Two hundred five consecutive children with early B-lineage ALL were treated according to the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) protocol between January 1986 and July 1, 1991. Therapy included a four- drug induction followed by consolidation and continuation phases of nightly oral mercaptopurine (6-MP) and repetitive courses of divided-dose oral methotrexate (dMTX) and asparaginase (L-asp). Three doses of VP-16 and cytarabine (Ara-C) were given during consolidation and later, during continuation, two doses were given 3 to 4 days apart, every 9 weeks. Intrathecal (IT) chemotherapy was given throughout the treatment period. Results: Two hundred three of the 205 patients entered remission. Only eight of these 203 children have had a bone marrow relapse (ALL). However, 10 other children have developed secondary AML 23 to 68 months following the diagnosis of ALL. Overall event-free survival (EFS) at 4 years is 79.3% ± 5.1%, with a risk of secondary AML at 4 years of 5.9% ± 3.2%. Conclusion: This experience provides strong evidence for a link between epipodophyllotoxin therapy and secondary AML since none of these children received alkylating agent therapy or irradiation. This serious complication raises concern as to the appropriate use of epipodophyllotoxins in the treatment of childhood ALL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research