Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New treatment more than doubles survival for high risk childhood leukemia

Date:
November 28, 2009
Source:
Child & Family Research Institute
Summary:
Phase 2 study results show high-dose imatinib plus chemo more than doubled survival for high risk type of childhood leukemia.

Results of a phase two clinical trial published October 5th in the Journal of Clinical Oncology show that adding continuous daily doses of a targeted drug called imatinib mesylate to regular chemotherapy more than doubled three-year survival rates for children with a high risk type of blood cancer called Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL).

Related Articles


The Children's Oncology Group performed the study at nearly 20 North American centres under the leadership of Dr. Kirk Schultz, head of childhood cancer research at the Child & Family Research Institute (CFRI) and a pediatric oncologist at BC Children's Hospital, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority.

"With conventional chemotherapy, the three-year survival rate for children with this high-risk type of leukemia is between 30-35 per cent," says Dr. Kirk Schultz, professor of pediatrics at the University of British Columbia.

"Adding continuous exposure to imatinib for two-and-a-half years made a big difference and increased the survival rates to 87 per cent. The drug was well tolerated and it didn't have any significant side effects," he says. Survival rate refers to the length of time that a patient survived without a relapse and without developing a new cancer.

There are multiple types of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and each responds differently to treatment. Ph+ ALL involves genetic abnormalities on two specific chromosomes.

Because traditional chemotherapy doesn't work well for many children with Ph+ ALL, the standard treatment is blood and marrow transplantation, a life-saving procedure that's associated with a risk of complications.

"By using the targeted drug imatinib in combination with traditional chemotherapy, these results suggest that we've been able to improve survival enough that we may no longer have to do blood and marrow transplants for this disease," says Dr. Schultz. "Understanding more about the genetics of cancers allows us to determine the best way to treat each child and be more selective in the appropriate use of expensive medications."

Known commercially as Gleevecฎ, imatinib is a pill that's used to treat some adult leukemias and gastrointestinal cancers. It binds to a specific protein in cancer cells and prevents the cells from proliferating.

Collaborative networks such as the Children's Oncology Group are crucial for recruiting sufficient numbers of patients to trial new treatments for rare diseases such as Ph+ ALL, which is diagnosed in approximately six children and 90 adults each year in Canada.

For this study, there were 92 children and adolescents between one and 21 years of age with Ph+ ALL. Each received an initial four weeks of standard chemotherapy. They were assigned to five different groups that received imatinib for different lengths of time: either 42, 63, 84, 126, or 280 days. All patients received an additional 336 days of imatinib.

The group that received imatinib for more than 280 continuous days had survival rates of 87 per cent, a dramatic improvement over traditional chemotherapy and blood and marrow transplantation. Groups that received imatinib for 84 and 126 days showed moderate improvement in survival rates, while groups receiving the drug for 42 and 63 days had the same survival rates as current standard treatments. There were also 21 patients with Ph+ ALL who were treated with blood and marrow transplantation followed by six months of imatinib. This approach didn't affect survival rates.

"Using imatinib plus chemotherapy had a synergistic type of interaction," says Dr. Schultz. "I never expected these results. Although it's very promising, we need to do more follow up to get the five-year survival data and determine the long-term survival. We submitted our study for publication earlier instead of waiting because the data was so exciting and this type of leukemia is such high risk."

The researchers are now looking at setting up a phase three study to validate whether adding imatinib to chemotherapy could replace blood and marrow transplantation as the standard treatment for Ph+ ALL.

"Using other targeted drugs with regular chemotherapy might give results for other types of cancer in children and adults," says Dr. Schultz.

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. During the course of the study, Dr. Schultz held the Wyeth/ Canadian Institutes of Health Research Clinical Research Chair in Transplantation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Child & Family Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Child & Family Research Institute. "New treatment more than doubles survival for high risk childhood leukemia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091006173548.htm>.
Child & Family Research Institute. (2009, November 28). New treatment more than doubles survival for high risk childhood leukemia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091006173548.htm
Child & Family Research Institute. "New treatment more than doubles survival for high risk childhood leukemia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091006173548.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins