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Randomized trial of two therapies for acute lymphocytic leukemia finds survival advantage

Orlando, May 16, 2005 -- A prospective, randomized trial comparing a novel regimen with a standard treatment for adult patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) showed a distinct advantage that continued to show superior results at three-, four-, and five-year intervals in the investigational arm of the trial. The drugs were given as induction therapy, an initial chemotherapy treatment with the goal of putting a patient's leukemia into complete remission. Patients who received the investigational regimen, comprised of cytarabine with high-dose mitoxantrone, also experienced a higher frequency of complete remission compared with patients on a standard, vincristine plus prednisone-based regimen. Mark A. Weiss, MD, a leukemia specialist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and lead author of the eight-year, multicenter study, presented the study results today at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology.

"There have been very few randomized trials in adult ALL. This is probably the first study in 20 years that focuses on induction therapy, and it appears to show that one treatment is superior to another in putting the disease in remission," explained Dr. Weiss. "Although the survival rates for these patients were initially similar in both arms, the results diverged after two years. Patients treated with cytarabine plus high-dose mitoxantrone appeared to have a survival advantage at three, four, and five years. The difference in survival rates seemed even more pronounced for the subset of ALL patients with the Philadelphia chromosome, a genetic predisposition that makes the disease more difficult to treat," he said.

The trial looked at two regimens to be used as induction therapy. One hundred and sixty-four patients with ALL, who were able to participate in the trial, were randomized to receive either a standard regimen (L-20) of vincristine, prednisone, cyclophosphamide, and doxorubicin or the ALL-2 regimen of cytara
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Contact: Joanne Nicholas
nicholaj@mskcc.org
212-639-3573
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
16-May-2005


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