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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1988 Mar;43(3):228-32.

Physician compliance and relapse rates of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children.

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  • 1Division of Hematology-Oncology, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario.

Abstract

We studied the prescription patterns of maintenance therapy for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and their association with duration of complete remission. Both 6-mercaptopurine and methotrexate (MTX) were prescribed in doses significantly lower than those recommended (75 mg/m2 daily 6-mercaptopurine; 20 mg/m2 weekly MTX) during maintenance therapy. Of 212 evaluated patients, patients who had relapses (n = 101) received significantly less MTX compared with patients who did not have relapses (n = 111) during the first 2 years of maintenance therapy. In the group of standard-risk patients who received the same induction therapy (n = 92), 11 of 17 who received less than 50% of the recommended MTX dose (64%) and 28 of 75 who received greater than 50% of the dose (37%) had relapses (P less than 0.05). The two groups had comparable periods of interruption of MTX therapy. Further analysis revealed that the lower maintenance dose stemmed from a continuous low prescribed dose and not from more frequent interruption of therapy in relapse. Physicians' inability or failure to adhere to the recommended protocol was associated with a higher relapse rate of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Improved physicians' compliance may improve the prognosis of the disease.

PMID:
3162210
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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