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Leukemia. 2005 May;19(5):721-6.

Value of intravenous 6-mercaptopurine during continuation treatment in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: final results of a randomized phase III trial (58881) of the EORTC CLG.

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Department of Pediatrics, Akademisch Ziekenhuis - VUB, Brussels, Belgium.


Between November 1990 and November 1996, EORTC Children Leukemia Group conducted a randomized trial in de novo acute lymphoblastic leukemia and lymphoblastic non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients using a Berlin-Frankfurt-Munster protocol to evaluate the monthly addition of intravenous 6-mercaptopurine (i.v. 6-MP) (1 g/m(2)) to conventional continuation therapy comprising per oral MTX weekly and 6-MP daily. Only during the first 18 months of the randomization period, 6-MP p.o. was interrupted for 1 week after each i.v. 6-MP. A total of 877 patients was randomized to either no i.v. 6-MP (Arm A) or additional i.v. 6-MP (Arm B). A total of 217 relapses (91 in Group A vs 128 in Group B) and 13 deaths in CR (5 vs 8) were reported; a total of 134 patients (55 vs 79) died. The median follow-up was 7.6 years. At 8 years, the disease-free survival rate was lower (P=0.005) in Arm B (69.1% (s.e.=2.2%)) than in Arm A (77.9% (s.e.=2.0%)), and the hazard ratio was 1.45 (95% CI 1.12-1.89). In conclusion, as delivered in this study, i.v. 6-MP was detrimental to event-free survival.

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