Abstract: Importance Standard chemotherapy for first relapse of B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) in children, adolescents, and young adults is associated with high rates of severe toxicities, subsequent relapse, and death, especially for patients with early relapse (high risk) or late relapse with residual disease after reinduction chemotherapy (intermediate risk). Blinatumomab, a bispecific CD3 to CD19 T cell-engaging antibody construct, is efficacious in relapsed/refractory B-ALL and has a favorable toxicity profile. Objective To determine whether substituting blinatumomab for intensive chemotherapy in consolidation therapy would improve survival in children, adolescents, and young adults with high- and intermediate-risk first relapse of B-ALL. Design, setting, and participants This trial was a randomized phase 3 clinical trial conducted by the Children's Oncology Group at 155 hospitals in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand with enrollment from December 2014 to September 2019 and follow-up until September 30, 2020. Eligible patients included those aged 1 to 30 years with B-ALL first relapse, excluding those with Down syndrome, Philadelphia chromosome-positive ALL, prior hematopoietic stem cell transplant, or prior blinatumomab treatment (n = 669). Interventions All patients received a 4-week reinduction chemotherapy course, followed by randomized assignment to receive 2 cycles of blinatumomab (n = 105) or 2 cycles of multiagent chemotherapy (n = 103), each followed by transplant. Main outcome and measures The primary end point was disease-free survival and the secondary end point was overall survival, both from the time of randomization. The threshold for statistical significance was set at a 1-sided P Results Among 208 randomized patients (median age, 9 years; 97 [47%] females), 118 (57%) completed the randomized therapy. Randomization was terminated at the recommendation of the data and safety monitoring committee without meeting stopping rules for efficacy or futility; at that point, 80 of 131 planned events occurred. With 2.9 years of median follow-up, 2-year disease-free survival was 54.4% for the blinatumomab group vs 39.0% for the chemotherapy group (hazard ratio for disease progression or mortality, 0.70 [95% CI, 0.47-1.03]); 1-sided P = .03). Two-year overall survival was 71.3% for the blinatumomab group vs 58.4% for the chemotherapy group (hazard ratio for mortality, 0.62 [95% CI, 0.39-0.98]; 1-sided P = .02). Rates of notable serious adverse events included infection (15%), febrile neutropenia (5%), sepsis (2%), and mucositis (1%) for the blinatumomab group and infection (65%), febrile neutropenia (58%), sepsis (27%), and mucositis (28%) for the chemotherapy group. Conclusions and relevance Among children, adolescents, and young adults with high- and intermediate-risk first relapse of B-ALL, postreinduction treatment with blinatumomab compared with chemotherapy, followed by transplant, did not result in a statistically significant difference in disease-free survival. However, study interpretation is limited by early termination with possible underpowering for the primary end point. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02101853.
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