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Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2009 Mar;52(3):335-9. doi: 10.1002/pbc.21817.

Intensive chemotherapy for systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma in children and adolescents: final results of Children's Cancer Group Study 5941.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, Norfolk, Virginia 23507, USA.



Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is characterized by advanced disease at presentation (70-80% of pediatric cases) and accounts for 10-15% of all childhood lymphomas. Treatment strategies for pediatric ALCL vary from short pulse B-NHL chemotherapy to prolonged leukemia like therapy. The optimal treatment strategy is unknown.


CCG-5941 used a compressed aggressive multiagent T-cell lineage chemotherapy regimen consisting of a 3-week induction therapy (vincristine, prednisone, cyclophosphamide, daunomycin, asparaginase) followed by a 3-week consolidation period (vincristine, prednisone, etoposide, 6-thioguanine, cytarabine, asparaginase, methotrexate) followed by six courses of maintenance chemotherapy at 7-week intervals (cyclophosphamide, 6-thioguanine, vincristine, prednisone, doxorubicin, asparaginase, methotrexate etoposide, cytarabine). Total therapy was 48 weeks.


Eighty-six children (male 56%, female 44%) with non-localized ALCL (CD30+) were treated. The majority of tumors were positive for ALK (90%) and of T lineage (83%). Extranodal disease was common (mediastinum 35%, skin 15%, lung 14%, bone 12%, bone marrow 13%, liver 6%, and other viscera 17%). Grade 4 neutropenia occurred in 82% of patients. The 5-year EFS was 68% (95% CI of 57-78%) and the 5-year OS was 80% (95% CI of 69-87%). There were 21 relapses and 4 toxic deaths as first events. Relapse occurred early with 17 (81%) relapses occurring within 2 years of diagnosis and 12 (57%) while receiving therapy. Univariate analysis for risk factors only identified bone marrow involvement predicting lower EFS (P = 0.03).


CCG-5941 demonstrated efficacy similar to previously reported regimens but with significant hematologic toxicity.

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