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Eur J Cancer. 1995;31A(4):572-5.

Role of myeloablative therapy in improved outcome for high risk neuroblastoma: review of recent Children's Cancer Group results.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco 94143, USA.


The use of new strategies for dose intensification using peripheral blood stem cell or autologous purged bone marrow rescue has raised expectations for cure in advanced neuroblastoma, although conflicting reports exist regarding the efficacy of these approaches. Using risk groups based on both biological and clinical staging, the Children's Cancer Group (CCG) has conducted a series of pilot studies to test new induction, consolidation and myeloablative regimens to attempt to improve outcome. We summarise below the outcome and prognostic factor analysis for the pilot chemotherapy trial, CCG-(CCG-321P2), and the use of high dose myeloablative chemoradiotherapy with allogeneic (CCG-321P1) or autologous purged bone marrow rescue (CCG-321P3) for high risk neuroblastoma patients who were progression-free at the end of induction chemotherapy. After autologous bone marrow transplantation (ABMT), progression-free survival (PFS) at 4 years was 38% (median follow-up 4 years). Prognostic factors for relapse after ABMT included pre-BMT disease status, bone marrow tumour content at harvest, extent of primary resection at diagnosis, and time to ABMT. MYCN amplification, age, stage, and pre-BMT myeloablative regimen were not significant. Allogeneic BMT did not have a better outcome than ABMT. In a retrospective, non-randomised comparison of ABMT and chemotherapy, there was a significant difference in PFS for stage IV patients. High risk subgroups possibly benefiting from ABMT could be identified, including those with tumour MYCN amplification, over 2 years at diagnosis, and those not in complete remission at the end of induction. A randomised prospective trial comparing myeloablative therapy with ABMT to continuous infusion consolidation chemotherapy is currently underway in CCG to determine the relative benefit.

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