Publication Date



Clinical Lymphoma Myeloma and Leukemia


BACKGROUND: Major advances in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) over the past decade have resulted in 5-year overall survival (OS) rates of 80% in mature B cell ALL, 50% in precursor B cell ALL, 50% to 60% in T cell ALL, and 60% to 70% in Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) ALL, as reported in studies from large, specialized centers. However, many patients treated in the community have limited access to novel therapies and stem cell transplantation (HSCT).

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The purpose of this retrospective cohort analysis was to evaluate the clinical outcomes of patients ≥ 16 years with newly diagnosed ALL treated from October 2007 to June 2019 in the Harris County Health System, Houston, TX.

RESULTS: One hundred forty-six patients were included, with newly diagnosed pre-B-ALL (n = 127), T-ALL (n = 18), and chronic myeloid leukemia and/or lymphoid blast crisis (n = 1). Median age was 35 years (16-82) at diagnosis, and 81(55%) were male. The majority of patients with pre-B ALL identified as Hispanic (n = 118, or 92%). Ninety-eight (67%) of patients were uninsured or indigent, receiving care under the county's financial assistance programs. Hyper-CVAD-based induction chemotherapy was administered in 134 (92%) of patients, while 9 (6%) were treated on different protocols, and 3 (2%) were not treated due to early death, or patient refusal. Imatinib was the most common TKI used in 17 of 30 or 57% of patients with Ph+ disease. Out of 137 evaluable for response patients, 117 (85%) achieved complete remission (CR + CRi), 19 (14%) had refractory disease, and 1 (1%) died within 4 weeks of diagnosis. Median follow-up time was 50 months (1.5-135). For the entire study cohort, the median duration of CR/CRi was 15.4 months. Out of 62 patients who were eligible for consolidative HSCT at first CR, 52 (89%) did not receive it, with lack of insurance being the most common reason (n = 29, or 56%). Barriers to utilization of novel therapies such as blinatumomab or CAR-T were also observed. Patient-caused delays in administration of chemotherapy and treatment interruptions of at least 30 days were seen in 31(23%) patients. At 1, 2, and 5 years, relapse rates were 37%, 56%, and 70%. Recurrent and/or refractory disease was the cause of death in most patients (n = 69 [85%]). Five-year EFS and OS rates were 22% and 38% for patients with pre-B ALL, 24% and 44% for patients with T ALL, and 13% and 27% for patients with Ph+ ALL. Median OS was significantly increased (not reached [NR] vs. 24 months; P = .00088) in patients with an indication for HSCT in first CR due to high-risk features who underwent HSCT, versus those who did not.

CONCLUSION: Addressing barriers raised by socioeconomic disparities, increasing access to effective therapies, and including patients with ALL treated in the community in clinical trials may improve survival for underserved populations.


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Female, Hospitals, County, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma, Retrospective Studies, Treatment Outcome, Young Adult



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