Preliminary reslts of our investigation consern 28 consecutive cases of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), treated between March 1974 and March 1978 at the Clinica Pediatrica of the Catholic University of Rome, with a slight modification of the ALL protocoll II of the Children's Hospital of Michigan (M-IMFRA). This protocol includes intermittent low dosage radiation of the cranio-spinal axis, combined with intrathecal injections of metotrexate for the prophylaxis of cental nervous system leukemia. Of the initial 28 children, one did not achiee a complete remission and had no hematologic toxicity at the time of this infection. The evalutation of remission duration is based on the remaining 26 children with a period of observation of up to 48 months. Only 2 children, who belonged to the low risk group, have so far relapsed, and relapse was confined to the bone marrow. Median survival without evidence of recurrence is 21 months. Of the 28 patients investigated , 17 are high risk children, as judged by the WBC above 20.000/mmc, mediastinal mass and age below 18 months or above 12 years. Only minimal toxicity has been observed in all cases. We have been encouraged to continue the regimen described here by recent observation regarding the agnormal computed tomography (ACT) scans in children with ALL following CNS prophylaxis of 2,400 rad to the skull. The high incidence of CAT scan abnormalities found is of interest and suggests a reappraisal of the current approaches to CNS prophylaxis.
- intrathecal methotrexate