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Treatment Complications and Survival Among Children and Young Adults With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

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We previously demonstrated lower early mortality for young adults (YAs) with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who received induction treatment at specialized cancer centers (SCCs) versus community hospitals. The aim of this study is to determine the impact of inpatient location of treatment throughout therapy on long-term survival, complications, and cost-associations that have not yet been evaluated at the population level.


Using the California Cancer Registry linked to a hospitalization database, we identified patients, 0-39 years of age, diagnosed with first primary ALL who received inpatient treatment between 1991 and 2014. Patients were classified as receiving all or part or none of their inpatient treatment at an SCC within 3 years of diagnosis. Inverse probability-weighted, multivariable Cox regression models estimated the associations between location of treatment and sociodemographic and clinical factors with survival. We compared 3-year inpatient costs overall and per day by age group and location of care.


Eighty-four percent (0-18 years; n = 4,549) of children and 36% of YAs (19-39 years; n = 683) received all treatment at SCCs. Receiving all treatment at an SCC was associated with superior leukemia-specific (hazard ratio [HR], 0.76; 95% CI, 0.67 to 0.88) and overall survival (HR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.77 to 0.97) in children and in YAs (HR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.61 to 0.83; HR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.62 to 0.80) even after controlling for complications. The cost of inpatient care during the full course of therapy was higher in patients receiving all of their care at SCCs.


Our results demonstrate that inpatient treatment at an SCC throughout therapy is associated with superior survival; therefore, strong consideration should be given to referring these patients to SCCs.

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