Dexamethasone and high-dose methotrexate improve outcome for children and young adults with high-risk B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia: A report from children's oncology group study AALL0232

Academic Article


  • Purpose: Survival for children and young adults with high-risk B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia has improved significantly, but 20% to 25% of patients are not cured. Children's Oncology Group study AALL0232 tested two interventions to improve survival. Patients and Methods: Between January 2004 and January 2011, AALL0232 enrolled 3,154 participants 1 to 30 years old with newly diagnosed high-risk B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia. By using a 2 × 2 factorial design, 2,914 participants were randomly assigned to receive dexamethasone (14 days) versus prednisone (28 days) during induction and high-dose methotrexate versus Capizzi escalating-dose methotrexate plus pegaspargase during interim maintenance 1. Results: Planned interim monitoring showed the superiority of the high-dose methotrexate regimens, which exceeded the predefined boundary and led to cessation of enrollment in January 2011. At that time, participants randomly assigned to high-dose methotrexate during interim maintenance 1 versus those randomly assigned to Capizzi methotrexate had a 5-year event-free survival (EFS) of 82% versus 75.4% (P = .006). Mature final data showed 5-year EFS rates of 79.6% for high-dose methotrexate and 75.2% for Capizzi methotrexate (P = .008). Highdose methotrexate decreased both marrow and CNS recurrences. Patients 1 to 9 years old who received dexamethasone and high-dose methotrexate had a superior outcome compared with those who received the other three regimens (5-year EFS, 91.2%v 83.2%, 80.8%, and 82.1%; P = .015). Older participants derived no benefit from dexamethasone during induction and experienced excess rates of osteonecrosis. Conclusion: High-dose methotrexate is superior to Capizzi methotrexate for the treatment of high-risk B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia, with no increase in acute toxicity. Dexamethasone given during induction benefited younger children but provided no benefit and was associated with a higher risk of osteonecrosis among participants 10 years and older.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 22370109
  • Author List

  • Larsen EC; Devidas M; Chen S; Salzer WL; Raetz EA; Loh ML; Mattano LA; Cole C; Eicher A; Haugan M
  • Start Page

  • 2380
  • End Page

  • 2388
  • Volume

  • 34
  • Issue

  • 20