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Blood. 2010 Sep 30;116(13):2205-14. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-01-261800. Epub 2010 Jun 10.

A review on allogeneic stem cell transplantation for newly diagnosed pediatric acute myeloid leukemia.

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Department of Pediatric Oncology/Hematology, VU University Medical Center, De Boelelaan 1117, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Survival of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has improved considerably over the past decades. Since 1985, allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) is widely recommended for patients who have a matched sibling donor. However, it remains controversial whether allo-SCT is superior to chemotherapy for children with newly diagnosed AML. This review summarizes phase 3 clinical trials that compared allo-SCT with chemotherapy (including autologous SCT) in pediatric AML, excluding studies that did not use the intention-to-treat analysis or correct for time-to-transplantation. Although allo-SCT might prevent more relapses than chemotherapy, the number needed for transplantation (with allo-SCT) to prevent one relapse is in the order of 10 patients. Moreover, overall survival is similar with both methods in most recent studies, apparently because of increased salvagability of a relapse when initial therapy concerned chemotherapy only, and because of a higher treatment-related mortality with allo-SCT. Because allo-SCT also gives more severe side effects and results more often in secondary malignancies than chemotherapy, we do not recommend allo-SCT in first remission for pediatric AML in general. Further research should focus on the possibility that subgroups might benefit from allo-SCT, aiming at further improvements in the prognosis of pediatric AML.

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