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Pediatric regime of chemotherapy proves more effective for young adults
Date:6/18/2012

ogically well-adapted for the hardships of intensive chemotherapy. In addition, the smaller number of young and mature adult ALL patients means that fewer studies and clinical trials have been done on adolescents and adults with the disease, so less information is available.

For their study, Dr. Ram and his fellow researchers conducted a systematic review of 11 comparative studies comparing the outcomes of 2,489 individuals aged 16-39. They completed an analysis to determine how the young adult regime compared to the pediatric treatment for this age group. They discovered that at three years, mortality was significantly lower when the patient was treated with the pediatric regime than with the adult chemotherapy/transplant combination, with a remission rate closer to that in children. Relapse rates were also significantly lower.

"The long-term survival of these young adults increased significantly when following the pediatric treatment," concludes Dr. Ram. The results disproved the assumption that with the more aggressive chemotherapy, young adult patients would have higher toxicity rates. "There was a worry that the patients might suffer or even die from the toxicity of the treatment, but toxicity rates remained the same. With the pediatric treatment, patients were more frequently in remission and had prolonged survival without bone marrow transplantation which itself is hard on the body."

More trials needed

Though the comparative studies have pointed researchers in the right direction, Dr. Ram says that this study is limited by a lack of randomized controlled trials, which could give more insight into whether the pediatric regime should be adopted as standard for young adult patients.

Still, the results are persuasive, leading to the conclusion that patients in this age group can be treated as pediatric patients in terms of the level of chemotherapy they can handle. "For a 16-20 year old, I would push them tow
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

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