Children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at risk for cancer recurrence in the brain don’t need prophylactic radiation therapy, researchers reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology

The researchers followed 598 children with ALL for 10 years; only eight patients had recurrence in their central nervous system (CNS), and of those, six were successfully treated with additional therapies. 

The findings were part of a larger study evaluating whether higher PEG-asparaginase doses and early intensification of triple intrathecal therapy reduces risk of CNS recurrence. In the greater study, researchers found that increased PEG-asparaginase had no effect on patient outcomes, but the additional intrathecal chemotherapy doses reduced CNS relapse in high-risk patients with no substantial increase in side effects.