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J Clin Oncol. 1998 Jan;16(1):246-54.

Intermediate-dose intravenous methotrexate with intravenous mercaptopurine is superior to repetitive low-dose oral methotrexate with intravenous mercaptopurine for children with lower-risk B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a Pediatric Oncology Group phase III trial.

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Texas Children's Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, USA.



To determine whether early intensification with 12 courses of intravenous methotrexate and intravenous mercaptopurine (IVMTX/IVMP) is superior to 12 courses of repetitive, low-dose oral MTX with I.V. MP (LDMTX/IVMP) for prevention of relapse in children with lower-risk B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).


Seven hundred nine patients were entered onto the study. Vincristine, prednisone, and asparaginase were used for remission induction. Patients were randomized to receive intensification with either IVMTX 1,000 mg/m2 plus IVMP 1,000 mg/m2 (regimen A) or LDMTX 30 mg/m2 every 6 hours for six doses with IVMP 1,000 mg/m2 (regimen B). Twelve courses were administered at 2-week intervals. Triple intrathecal therapy (TIT) was used for CNS prophylaxis. Continuation therapy included standard oral MP, weekly MTX, and TIT every 12 weeks for 2 years.


Six hundred ninety-nine (99%) patients achieved remission. Three hundred forty-nine were assigned to regimen A and 350 to regimen B. The estimated 4-year continuous complete remission (CCR) rate for patients treated with regimen A is 80.3% (SE = 2.9%) and with regimen B is 75.9% (SE = 3.1%). By log-rank analysis, regimen A demonstrated superior CCR (P = .013). Transient neutropenia/thrombocytopenia, bacterial sepsis, neurotoxicity, stomatitis, and hospitalizations were more frequent among patients treated on regimen A.


Intensification with IVMTX/IVMP is more effective than LDMTX/IVMP for prevention of relapse in children with B-precursor ALL at lower risk for relapse.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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