Between 1972 and 1974, Childrens Cancer Study Group enrolled 724 children with newly diagnosed acute lymphoblastic leukemia on a single randomized clinical trial. Study CCG-101 was designed to test four types of presymptomatic central nervous system and sanctuary therapies consisting of (a) 2400-rad craniospinal radiation therapy (RT) plus 1200-rad extended-field RT, which included the liver, spleen, kidneys, lower abdomen, and gonads; (b) 2400-rad craniospinal RT; (c) 2400-rad cranial RT plus intrathecal methotrexate (i.t. MTX); and (d) i.t. MTX alone. Patients all received a 28-day induction course of vincristine, prednisone, and l-asparaginase and were maintained subsequently on a regimen consisting of daily 6-mercaptopurine, weekly MTX, and monthly pulses of vincristine and prednisone. Patients treated with six doses of i.t. MTX alone had a significantly higher incidence of central nervous system relapse than did patients treated with 2400-rad craniospinal RT plus 1200-rad abdominal RT, 2400-rad craniospinal RT, or 2400-rad cranial RT plus i.t. MTX. There was no significant difference in marrow remission duration or survival of the treatment groups. There appears to be a benefit with regard to length of bone marrow remission and survival for patients with initial white blood counts ≥20,000/cu mm treated with cranial RT plus i.t. MTX. The majority of the patients remaining on study have now discontinued maintenance therapy. The 8-year overall estimated survival rate on this study is 56%, and the disease-free survival rate is 52%.


Childrens Cancer Study Group investigators and institutions are given in “Appendix.” This study was supported by grants from the Division of Cancer Treatment, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Address requests for reprints to Childrens Cancer Study Group Operations Office, 1721 North Griffin Avenue, Los Angeles, Calif. 90031.

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