Clinical trial lowers ALL relapse rate

Memphis, Tennessee, October 28, 2019

Two doctors in white lab coats look straight into camera.

Sima Jeha, M.D., of the St. Jude Departments of Oncology and Global Pediatric Medicine, and Ching-Hon Pui, M.D., chair of the St. Jude Department of Oncology, led a St. Jude clinical trial that reduces relapse in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Up to 10% of children with ALL relapse. Researchers at St. Jude have announced results of the Total Therapy Study 16. The study treated all subtypes of ALL in patients age 18 and younger.

Total 16 tested strategies for lowering the rate of relapse. Extra doses of chemotherapy in the cerebrospinal fluid improved disease control in the central nervous system (CNS) without adding toxicity.

On the previous clinical trial (Total 15) the rate of CNS relapse was 5.7% for high-risk patients. On Total 16 the rate of CNS relapse for a similar group of patients was reduced to 1.8%. The addition of extra therapy to control CNS disease did not cause extra toxicity.

“In cancer research, leukemia always leads the way,” said Ching-Hon Pui, MD, Department of Oncology chair. “St. Jude is at the forefront of a new era of cancer treatment where therapies are optimized to provide the maximum benefit to all patients, even those at the highest-risk.”

The Journal of Clinical Oncology published a report on this work.

Read the full News Release.

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