Purpose We sought to determine whether cranial radiotherapy (CRT) is necessary to prevent relapse in any subgroup of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Patients and Methods We obtained aggregate data on relapse and survival outcomes for 16,623 patients age 1 to 18 years old with newly diagnosed ALL treated between 1996 and 2007 by 10 cooperative study groups from around the world. The proportion of patients eligible for prophylactic CRT varied from 0%to 33% by trial and was not related to the proportion eligible for allogeneic stem-cell transplantation in first complete remission. Using a random effects model, with CRT as a dichotomous covariate, we performed a single-arm metaanalysis to compare event-free survival and cumulative incidence of isolated or any CNS relapse and isolated bone marrow relapse in high-risk subgroups of patients who either did or did not receive CRT. Results Although there was significant heterogeneity in all outcome end points according to trial, CRT was associated with a reduced risk of relapse only in the small subgroup of patients with overt CNS disease at diagnosis, who had a significantly lower risk of isolated CNS relapse (4% with CRT v 17% without CRT; P = .02) and a trend toward lower risk of any CNS relapse (7% with CRT v 17% without CRT; P = .09). However, this group had a relatively high rate of events regardless of whether or not they received CRT (32% [95% CI, 26% to 39%] v 34% [95% CI, 19% to 54%]; P = .8). Conclusion CRT does not have an impact on the risk of relapse in children with ALL treated on contemporary protocols.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research