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Increments in DNA-thioguanine level during thiopurine enhanced maintenance therapy of acute lymphoblastic leukemia

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Maintenance therapy containing methotrexate and 6-mercapto - purine is essential to cure acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Cytotoxicity is elicited by incorporation of thioguanine nucleotides into DNA (DNA-TG), and higher leukocyte DNA-TG is associated with increased relapse-free survival. As 6-thioguanine provides 6- fold higher cytosolic levels of thioguanine nucleotides than does 6- mercapto purine, we added low-dose 6-thioguanine to methotrexate/6- mercapto purine maintenance therapy to explore if this combination results in significantly higher DNA-TG. The target population of the "Thiopurine Enhanced ALL Maintenance therapy" (TEAM) study was 30 patients with non-high-risk ALL, aged 1-45 years on methotrexate/6-mercaptopurine maintenance therapy receiving no other systemic chemotherapy. Incremental doses of 6-thioguanine were added to methotrexate/6-mercaptopurine maintenance therapy (starting 6-thioguanine dose: 2.5 mg/m2/day, maximum: 12.5 mg/m2/day). The primary endpoint was DNA-TG increments. Thirty-four patients were included, and 30 patients completed maintenance therapy according to the TEAM strategy. Of these 30 patients, 26 (87%) tolerated 10.0-12.5 mg/m2/day as the maximum 6-thioguanine dose. TEAM resulted in significantly higher DNA-TG levels compared to those in both TEAM patients before their inclusion in TEAM (on average 251 fmol/mg DNA higher [95% confidence interval: 160-341; P<0.0001]), and with historical patients receiving standard methotrexate/6-mercapto - purine maintenance therapy (on average 272 fmol/mg DNA higher [95% confidence interval: 147-398; P<0.0001]). TEAM did not increase myelotoxicity or hepatotoxicity. In conclusion, TEAM is an innovative and feasible approach to improve maintenance therapy and results in higher DNA-TG levels without inducing additional toxicity. It may therefore be an effective strategy to reduce the risk of ALL relapse through increased DNA-TG. This will be tested in a randomized ALLTogether-1 substudy.

Udgave nummer11
Sider (fra-til)2824-2833
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 1 nov. 2021

ID: 66495373