ASCO: Double ASCT Beneficial in High-Risk Neuroblastoma

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ASCO: Double ASCT Beneficial in High-Risk Neuroblastoma
ASCO: Double ASCT Beneficial in High-Risk Neuroblastoma

TUESDAY, June 7, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Young children with high-risk neuroblastoma have improved survival when they receive two autologous stem-cell transplants (ASCTs) rather than one, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from June 3 to 7 in Chicago.

Julie Park, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and colleagues treated 652 patients newly diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, about 3 years old on average, between November 2007 and February 2012. Nearly nine out of 10 children had stage 4 neuroblastoma. The children were randomly assigned to receive either one or two rounds of chemotherapy followed by a single or double (tandem) ASCT. In each group, about three out of four children also were randomly selected to receive immunotherapy on top of chemotherapy.

After three years, 61.4 percent of patients who underwent a tandem ASCT had not died or experienced a recurrence or worsening of their cancer. This compared to 48.4 percent of patients who underwent a single transplant, the researchers found. Children in both groups who also received immunotherapy did even better. Researchers achieved a three-year event-free survival rate of 73.2 percent for tandem transplant patients, and 55.5 percent for single transplant recipients.

The addition of a second round of chemotherapy and stem cell transplant did not appear to increase the rate of severe toxicity, the researchers found. Fewer treatment-related deaths occurred among tandem transplant recipients, compared with single transplant patients. "This finding will change the way we treat children with high-risk neuroblastoma in North America, which still claims many young lives and is in urgent need of better treatments," Park said in a news release from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

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