Clinical Trials Show That Bone Marrow Transplant And Vitamin A Derivative Both Improve Survival From Neuroblastoma

LOS ANGELES -- Two innovative treatments -- bone marrow transplant and follow-up therapy with high doses of retinoic acid, a derivative of Vitamin A -- significantly improve the disease-free survival of children with high-risk neuroblastoma, the third most common childhood cancer.

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco and Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, working with the nationwide Children's Cancer Group, reported those findings from a randomized study of 539 children in two separate sessions at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Monday, May 18.

"The improved survival rates came without a significant increase in toxic side effects or extra days in the hospital. We recommend that these therapies should be incorporated into future treatment regimens," said Katherine K. Matthay, M.D., director of the Children's Cancer Group neuroblastoma study. She is a professor of pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco and director of pediatric clinical oncology for Lucile Packard Children's Health Services at UCSF.

Matthay reported at ASCO on the bone marrow transplant results. C. Patrick Reynolds, MD, PhD, of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), reported on the retinoic acid stage of the trial. Reynolds is associate professor of pediatrics and pathology at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. He also described the research in an ASCO-sponsored press briefing on Sunday (May 17).

The study, a Phase III randomized trial designed to test the efficacy of the treatment, began in 1991 and was conducted at more than 100 medical centers. It showed a significant increase in event-free survival for children who received autologous purged bone marrow transplants. Results were even more dramatic for those whose initial therapy was followed up with high doses of 13-cis retinoic acid, a Vitamin A derivative commonly prescribed for acne under

Contact: Janet Basu
(415) 476-2557
University of California - San Francisco

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