Newer approaches are needed for the treatment of relapsed and refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Asparaginase-based regimens are active in the treatment of pediatric ALL and may be important in salvage therapy for adult patients. We conducted a pilot trial combining methotrexate, vincristine, PEGylated-asparaginase, and dexamethasone (MOpAD) in adults with relapsed or refractory ALL. We added tyrosine kinase inhibitors in patients with Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+) ALL and rituximab in patients with CD20 positive B-cell ALL. Among 37 patients treated (median age 42 years; median 2 prior therapies), the complete remission (CR) rate was 28% and an overall response rate (ORR) was 39%. The median CR duration was 4.3 months. Patients with Ph+ ALL had CR and ORR of 50% and 67%, respectively and the CR and ORR in patients with T-cell leukemia were 45% and 56%, respectively. The median survival in patients with CR/CRp was 10.4 versus 3.4 months in nonresponders (P=0.02). The most common grade 3 or 4 nonhematologic toxicities were elevations in bilirubin and transaminases, nausea, peripheral neuropathy, and hyperglycemia, which were managed with supportive care, dose adjustments, and interruptions.
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