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J Clin Oncol. 1997 Jun;15(6):2214-21.

Clinical features and treatment outcome of childhood T-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia according to the apparent maturational stage of T-lineage leukemic blasts: a Children's Cancer Group study.

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Children's Cancer Group Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Biology Reference Laboratory, and Hughes Institute, St. Paul, MN 55113, USA.



Leukemic cells from T-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients are thought to originate from T-lymphocyte precursors corresponding to discrete stages of T-cell ontogeny. Here we sought to determine the influence of leukemic cell apparent maturational stage on treatment outcomes in pediatric T-lineage ALL.


From 1983 through 1993, 407 pediatric T-lineage ALL patients were enrolled onto two sequential series of risk-adjusted treatment protocols of the Children's Cancer Group. In the current analysis, T-lineage ALL patients were immunophenotypically classified as follows: CD7+ CD2- CD5- pro-thymocyte leukemia (pro-TL), CD7+ (CD2 or CD5)+ CD3- immature TL, and CD7+ CD2+ CD5+ CD3+ mature TL.


Similar induction outcomes of 91.4%, 97.1%, and 98.3% were obtained by the pro-, immature, and mature TL groups, respectively. Four-year event-free survival (EFS) was lower for pro-TL patients (57.1%; SD = 8.4%,) compared with immature and mature TL patients (68.5%; SD = 3.5%; and 77.1%; SD = 4.0%, respectively) with an overall significance of .05 (log-rank test) or .04 (log-rank trend test). Relative hazards rates (RHR) were 2.11 and 1.22 for pro-TL and immature TL versus mature TL, respectively. Highly significant differences were found for overall survival (P = .005, log-rank test; P = .009, log-rank trend test). Multivariate analysis confirmed that the prognostic influence of ontogeny grouping was independent of that of other prognostic factors.


Leukemic cells of the pro-TL maturation stage identify a small subgroup of T-lineage ALL patients who have a significantly worse EFS outcome than patients whose cells are of a more mature stage of development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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