The GIMEMA ALL 0288 trial was designed to evaluate the impact of a 7-day prednisone (PDN) pretreatment on complete remission (CR) achievement and length, the influence of the addition of cyclophosphamide (random I) to a conventional 4-drug induction on CR rate and duration, and whether an early post-CR intensification (random II) by an 8-drug consolidation could improve CR duration. Median follow-up of this study was 7.3 years. From January 1988 to April 1994, among 794 adult (> 12 but <60 years) patients registered, 778 were eligible. Their median age was 27.5 years; 73% B-lineage had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and 22% had T-lineage disease; 18% showed associated myeloid markers; 47 of 216 analyzed patients (22%) had Philadelphia chromosome-positive ALL. Response to PDN pretreatment was observed in 65% of cases. CR was achieved in 627 patients (82%). Resistant patients and induction death rates were 11% and 7%, respectively. Random II was applied to 388 patients with CR; 201 had maintenance alone and 187 had consolidation followed by maintenance. The relapse rate was 60%; isolated central nervous system relapses were 8% of all CRs and 13% of all relapses. Median survival (overall survival [OS]), continuous complete remission (CCR), and disease-free survival (DFS) were 2.2, 2.4, and 2 years, respectively. PDN pretreatment response resulted the main independent factor influencing CR achievement, OS, CCR, and DFS; the addition of cyclophosphamide in induction significantly influenced CR achievement in a multivariate analysis. Neither induction intensification nor early consolidation appeared to influence CCR and DFS duration. For the first time PDN pretreatment response proved to be a powerful factor predicting disease outcome in adult ALL patients.
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