Background: The efficacy and safety of recombinant Escherichia coli–asparaginase (rASNase) was compared to native E.coli asparaginase (Asparaginase medac). Methods: One hundred and ninety-nine children with newly diagnosed acute lymphoblastic leukemia were randomized to receive one of both agents at a dose of 5,000 U/m² during induction (eight doses) and 10,000 U/m² during the postinduction phase (only high-risk patients; standard- and medium-risk patients received pegaspargase). Results: Median trough serum asparaginase activity levels were comparable between both groups; they ranged from 143 to 182 U/l during induction and were above the target value of 100 U/l. Complete asparagine depletion in serum was achieved in 97.9% of patients, with no significant differences between both groups. On day 33 (end of induction), only two (2%) evaluable patients in each group had measurable asparagine serum levels, and complete asparagine depletion in the cerebrospinal fluid was achieved in 98.8% and 93.6% of the patients with rASNase and Asparaginase medac, respectively. During induction, 2.1% and 5% of patients developed an allergic reaction to rASNase or Asparaginase medac, respectively. Approximately 41% of the patients in both groups had a clinical allergy or enzyme inactivation to the first dose of any asparaginase preparation in postinduction. A comparable proportion of patients in both groups developed anti-asparaginase antibodies (57%) during repeated administration of asparaginase. Minimal residual disease levels at the end of induction, 5-year event-free survival, and 5-year cumulative incidence of relapse did not differ between both groups. Conclusion: The efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity of both asparaginase preparations are comparable. This trial was registered at as #NCT00784017; EudraCT number 2006-003180-31.

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Pediatric Blood & Cancer

van der Sluis, I., de Groot-Kruseman, H. A., te Loo, M. (Maroeska), Tissing, W., van den Bos, C., Kaspers, G., … Pieters, R. (2018). Efficacy and safety of recombinant E. coli asparaginase in children with previously untreated acute lymphoblastic leukemia: A randomized multicenter study of the Dutch Childhood Oncology Group. Pediatric Blood & Cancer, 65(8). doi:10.1002/pbc.27083