Long-term results of the combination of the N7 induction chemotherapy and the busulfan-melphalan high dose chemotherapy.
PURPOSE To tailor postinduction therapy for stage 4 neuroblastoma in children who are older than 1 year at diagnosis according to status after induction. PATIENTS AND METHODS From March 1987 to December 1992, 99 patients who were consecutively admitted were included in the Lyon-Marseille-Curie East of France (LMCE)3 strategy. After induction with the French Society of Pediatric Oncology NB87 regimen and surgery, patients who were in complete remission immediately proceeded to consolidation therapy with vincristine, melphalan, and fractionated total-body irradiation (VMT). All other patients underwent a postinduction strategy before VMT, either an additional megatherapy regimen or further chemotherapy with etoposide/carboplatin. RESULTS The progression-free survival (PFS) is 29% at 7 years from diagnosis, which compares favorably with that of a similar cohort of 72 patients previously reported by our group (LMCE1; PFS of 20% at 5 years and 8% at 14 years, P =.004). In the multivariate analysis, only age younger than 3 years at diagnosis (P =.0085) and achievement of complete or very good partial remission after NB87 and surgery (P =.00024) remained significant. The PFS of the 87 patients who were included in the postinduction strategy was significantly better than that of the comparable 62 patients on the LMCE1 study (32% v 11% at 7 years; P =.005). CONCLUSION The progressive improvements in the LMCE results over the last 10 years suggest that improvements in supportive care measures and increases in each component of this strategy (induction, postinduction, consolidation) may all contribute to increased survival rates.