Registry-Based Studies in Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Sweden Survival and Quality of Life

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a common child malignancy, also constitutes a minor fraction of adult cancer with approximately 50 new cases per year in Sweden. While the five-year overall survival (OS) in pediatric ALL is more than 90%, the prognosis in adults is dismal. Using the Swedish ALL quality registry, this thesis investigates treatment and outcome of adult ALL according to national guidelines. In addition, the introduction of patient-reported outcome in the ALL and Acute Myeloid Leukemia registries is evaluated. In Paper I, measurement of minimal residual disease by flow cytometry was found to be feasible but not consistently applied in the 35 patients with Philadelphia (Ph)-negative B-ALL investigated. In Paper II, treatment, toxicity and outcome of 155 patients, 55-85 years (y) with ALL diagnosis between 2005 and 2012 were studied in detail by patient charts review. An age-adopted protocol recommended from 2009 did not result in better outcome. In Paper III, disease recurrence in the same cohort as Paper II was studied. The median overall survival (OS) after ALL relapse was 3.6 months. In Paper IV, the whole ALL registry was studied and OS was estimated in 930 adult patients diagnosed in the periods 1997-2006 and 2007-2015. Five year OS improved in patients 18-45y from 50% to 65%, in patients 46-65y from 25% to 46%, and in patients >65y from 7% to 11%. This demonstrates that young patients have the best prognosis, in part due to the introduction of a dose-intense “pediatric-like” chemotherapy protocol. Compared to women, middle-aged men were found to have a worse outcome.Historically, Philadelphia-positive (Ph-pos) ALL has a poor prognosis compared to Ph-negative ALL. In this material, the frequency of Ph-pos ALL was 34% of examined B-ALL. Analysis of the whole registry revealed that in 2007-2015, i.e. after the introduction of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib, Ph-pos ALL was no longer associated with inferior OS. In Paper V, ALL and Acute Myeloid Leukemia patients, six months after diagnosis, completed a web or paper questionnaire regarding quality of life, symptoms and experience with care. The response rate was 64%. Depression symptoms were frequent (18%), especially in young women who reported worrying about fertility.In summary, although OS in adult ALL has improved, more effective and less toxic therapies in upfront treatment are highly warranted. Collection of patient-reported outcome in a national quality registry is feasible and can add important aspects of cancer care that are not usually addressed.