St. Jude leukemia therapy overcomes differences in treatment outcome between black, white children

tatus or ability to pay. The study included 68 black children and 338 white children with newly diagnosed ALL. The patients were enrolled in clinical trials and received the same induction treatment until the leukemia was in remission. For the next 120 weeks, the children received "risk-directed, post-remission therapy."

This post-remission therapy varied depending on whether the child was considered at low risk or high risk for recurrence of the cancer. Children considered at low risk received less aggressive therapy during this time than did those considered at high risk. The St. Jude team used strict criteria to classify patients according to their risk of failing therapy, which led them to assign more than three-fourths of the black children to risk groups that received intensified therapy, according to Pui.

At the end of 10 years the survival rates were 86.2 percent (18.5 percent) for black children and 80.3 percent (6.6 percent) for white children. In addition, the rate of event-free survival (no recurrence of cancer) was 74.8 percent (26.5 percent) for black children and 73.6 percent (7.6 percent) for white children.

"The results of our clinical study show that effective treatment as provided at St. Jude can overcome the risk factors that so often lead to treatment failure--especially in black children," Pui said.

Other authors of this study are John T. Sandlund, M.D.; Deqing Pei; Gaston K. Rivera, M.D.; Scott C. Howard, M.D.; Raul C. Ribeiro, M.D.; Jeffrey E. Rubnitz, M.D., Ph.D.; Bassem I. Razzouk, M.D.; Melissa Hudson, M.D.; Cheng Cheng, Ph.D.; Susana C. Raimondi, Ph.D.; Frederick G. Behm, M.D.; James Downing, M.D.; and Mary V. Relling, Pharm.D.--all of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.


Contact: Bonnie Cameron
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

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