Low-dose cranial boost in high-risk adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients undergoing bone marrow transplant

William Su, Marcher Thompson, Ren Dih Sheu, Amir Steinberg, Luis Isola, Richard Stock, Richard L. Bakst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has a predilection for CNS involvement. Patients with high-risk ALL are often managed with transplant using a radiation-based conditioning regimen. Historically, a high-dose prophylactic cranial boost (CB) of ≥12 Gy was given to reduce risk of central nervous system (CNS) recurrence. However, the use of CB has fallen out of favor because of toxicity concerns. In high-risk adults undergoing transplant at our institution, we have used a low-dose 6 Gy CB to reduce toxicity while conditioning adults with fully developed brains. The safety, efficacy, and utility of a low-dose CB in adults are poorly studied; herein, we report their outcomes and toxicity. Methods and materials We identified all high-risk ALL patients undergoing total body irradiation as part of their conditioning regimen. Those who received 6 Gy CB or no CB were included (55 total). Their charts were reviewed and statistical analyses were completed with R, version 2.15.2. Results In patients undergoing CB, 3-year CNS disease-free survival and overall survival were 94.7% and 62.7%. In those not undergoing CBs, survivals were 81.8% and 51.5%. Notably, within the CB cohort, patients without prior CNS involvement had no CNS failures. In contrast, in the non-CB cohort, there were 2 CNS failures in patients with no history of CNS involvement. In the CB cohort, the only notable acute toxicity was parotitis (2.8%). Late toxicity in the CB cohort included 1 instance of cataracts (2.8%) without any evidence of cognitive impairment or potential radiation induced secondary malignancy. Conclusions A dose of 6 Gy CB is well-tolerated in the adult ALL population as part of a radiation-based conditioning regimen. Low-dose CB may be considered in adult patients with high-risk ALL without prior CNS involvement to reduce the likelihood of recurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-108
Number of pages6
JournalPractical Radiation Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017


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