Background: Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is a rare disease with a poor outcome in adults. Over the years different protocols have been developed with the aim of improving the outcome. The German study group protocols (GMALL), which are the most frequently used in our institutions, changed significantly between the periods 1989–93 and 1999–2003.
Objectives: To investigate whether the change in protocols over the years resulted in an outcome difference at two hospitals in Israel.
Methods: We thoroughly reviewed the records of 153 patients from Sheba Medical Center and Soroka Medical Center, of whom 106 comprised the study group. The patients were divided into two groups according to the treatment protocol used: 40 patients with the 1989/93 protocol and 66 with the 1999/2003 protocol. Outcome was analyzed for the two groups.
Results: We found a significant difference in disease-free survival (DFS) between the two groups for B cell-ALL (B-ALL) patients who achieved complete remission after induction. There was no difference in overall survival. We did not find any difference in outcome for T cell-ALL patients or for CD20-positive patients.
Conclusions: In our retrospective analysis, GMALL 99/2003 led to a better DFS for B-ALL patients who were in complete remission after induction. This is possibly related to the differences in medications between the protocols, but may also be due to better supportive care. Despite the proven advantage of the newer protocols regarding overall survival, in our experience there was no other significant difference between the two regimens.