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Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, the Most Common Childhood Cancer, Is Curable Without Preventive Cranial Radiation
Date:6/24/2009

assess whether cranial irradiation would have made a difference in CNS relapse, they compared the outcomes of 71 patients whose leukemias would have qualified them for irradiation with the outcomes of 56 patients who had received such irradiation in the past. The researchers found that the 71 patients, in fact, had significantly better complete remission than the 56 patients who had been irradiated.

"The bottom line is that not only did we get outstanding treatment responses in these patients, many of whom would have otherwise received irradiation, but they will have a better quality of life because of the absence of its side effects," Pui said.

"In a way, these findings represent coming full circle," said Dr. William Evans, St. Jude director and CEO and a co-author of the paper. "St. Jude was the first to introduce cranial radiation as a treatment strategy that advanced the cure of childhood ALL to 50 percent. Now, St. Jude is the first to show that we can successfully eliminate irradiation by optimizing chemotherapy."

Other authors of this paper include Deqing Pei, John Sandlund, Sue Kaste, Raul Ribeiro, Jeffrey Rubnitz, Susana Raimondi, Mihaela Onciu, Elaine Coustan-Smith, Larry Kun, Sima Jeha, Cheng Cheng, Scott Howard, Vickey Simmons, Monika Metzger, James Boyett, Wing Leung and James Downing (St. Jude); W. Paul Bowman and Amy Bayles (Cook Children's Medical Center); and Rupert Handgretinger (formerly of St. Jude).

The research was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society F.M. Kirby Clinical Research Professorship and ALSAC.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Ten
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SOURCE St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
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