Acute lymphoblastic leukemia: End-result analysis of treatment and prognostic factors in Indian patients



Acute Lymphatic Leukemia (ALL) patients seen during the period 1974–1978 at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Bombay, are analyzed retrospectively to evaluate the clinical features at presentation, results of sequential therapy, and prognostic factors. A total of 301 patients were registered during the study period. There were 153 evaluable patients. Of these 73 patients received induction therapy with vincristine and prednisolone (VP) followed by cranial prophylaxis (cranial radiotherapy, 2,400 rads, and 10 weekly intrathecal injections of methotrexate 7.5 mg/m2) and continuous oral maintenance with daily 6-mecrapatopurine and weekly methrotrexte (group A). Another 39 patients (group B) received pulse therapy with vincristine and prednisolone during maintenance therapy. Finally 41 patients (group C) received L-asparaginase during induction and pulse therapy in addition to drugs as in group A. Of the 153 patients, 88 (58%) achieved complete response after induction treatment.

Induction remission was 53% with vincristine and prednisolone (group A and group B), whereas it was 70% in group C. The difference in complete response rate in group C was statistically significant (P<0.05). The 3-year survival in our series was 22%, with median survival of 11 months. Group C patients receiving L-asparaginase along with vincristine and prednisolone showed 41% 3-year survival compared to 16% for group B. The 3-year survival in group A patients was only 7%, probably owing to lack of pulse therapy during maintenance treatment. The prognostic factors such as age, sex, WBC count, and mediastinal node were compared for induction remission and total survival. Possible factors relating to poor results in our series as compared to developed countries are discussed.