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Treatment outcomes of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in a middle-income developing country: high mortalities, early relapses, and poor survival

Journal title
Jornal de pediatria
Publication year
Abdelmabood, S.; Fouda, A. E.; Boujettif, F.; Mansour, A.

OBJECTIVE: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common childhood cancer, yet surprisingly, very few studies have reported the treatment outcomes and the relapse rate of patients from low/middle-income countries. METHOD: This study was a 5-year retrospective cohort study. It was conducted at Oncology Center of Mansoura University in Egypt and aimed to estimate the treatment outcomes and the relapse rates of newly diagnosed acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children. RESULTS: Two hundred children suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia were studied; forty-six patients (23%) died during induction and most of those deaths were related to infection. Forty-one patients (27%) relapsed out of the 152 patients who achieved complete remission. The most common site of relapse was the bone marrow, followed by the isolated central nervous system, 53.7% and 31.7%, respectively. Seventy-eight percent of relapses occurred very early/early rather than later. The majority of relapse patients' deaths were related to infection and disease progression. The 5-year overall survival rate for patients was 63.1% (82.1% for non-relapsed compared to 36.6% for relapsed patients). CONCLUSION: There was a high incidence of induction deaths related to infection and high percentages of very early/early relapses, with high mortalities and low 5-year overall survival rates. These findings suggest the urgent need for modification of chemotherapy regimens to be suitable for the local conditions, including implementation of supportive care and infection control policies. There is also a requirement for antimicrobial prophylaxis during induction period combined with the necessary increase in government healthcare spending to improve the survival of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in Egyptian children.

Research abstracts