A critical comparison of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation and conventional chemotherapy as treatment for acute nonlymphocytic leukemia
Bone Marrow Transplantation
Published data from two centers conducting bone marrow transplantation on patients with acute nonlymphocytic leukemia in first remission were pooled and compared with results from an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) study in which patients were treated with conventional chemotherapy. A series of adjustments were made to the ECOG sample to account for selection factors that restrict access of patients to transplantation. The transplant sample exhibits considerably higher disease-free survival when compared to the adjusted ECOG series (53% versus 21% at three years). The transplant series is somewhat younger than the ECOG series (median, 24 years versus 28 years). The impact of age on the disease-free survival results is difficult to assess because of the relatively small samples in the different age groups. However, by defining a suitable control group, methodology for making a critical comparison between the two modalities is presented which, if applied to larger samples of patients, should help to resolve the issue. In the absence of data from a large, prospective randomized study, a critical retrospective comparison of available data is essential in the assessment of treatment options.