Try our beta test site
IMPORTANT: Listing of a study on this site does not reflect endorsement by the National Institutes of Health. Talk with a trusted healthcare professional before volunteering for a study. Read more...

Methotrexate With or Without Cyclophosphamide in Treating Patients With Lymphocytic Leukemia

This study has been terminated.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Identifier:
First received: November 1, 1999
Last updated: October 6, 2015
Last verified: October 2012

RATIONALE: Drugs used in chemotherapy use different ways to stop cancer cells from dividing so they stop growing or die.

PURPOSE: Phase II trial to study the effectiveness of methotrexate with or without cyclophosphamide in treating patients who have lymphocytic leukemia with neutropenia or anemia.

Condition Intervention Phase
Drug: Cyclophosphamide
Drug: Methotrexate
Drug: Prednisone
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A Phase II Study of Initial Treatment With Methotrexate in Large Granular Lymphocytic (LGL) Leukemia

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Complete, Partial, and Overall Response Rates of Treatment With MTX, and Also With CY for Patients Failing to Respond to MTX [ Time Frame: Assessed during the first 4 months, then at least every three months for two years. Then every six months until five years after study entry, and every 12 months thereafter until full study stop date. ]
    We will report the overall response rate below. Complete remission requires that all of the following be present for at least four weeks: The patient must have a normal CBC including neutrophil count > 1500/mm3, lymphocyte count< 4000/mm3, hemoglobin > 11 g/dl, and platelet count > 100,000/mm3. In addition, the patient must have a normal LGL count. A complete response will be attained if CD8+ cells were less than 760/mm³. A partial response will be defined as achievement of any one of the following in the absence of CR. The response must last for at least four weeks:In patients being treated for severe neutropenia (less than 500 neutrophils/mm3) an improvement to over 500 neutrophils/mm3 will be considered a partial response, as long as that improvement represents at least a 50% impr

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Clinical Response [ Time Frame: Assessed during the first 4 months of treatment and followed until reaching full study stop date ]

Enrollment: 59
Study Start Date: July 1999
Study Completion Date: March 2012
Primary Completion Date: December 2010 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Methotrexate (Cy if no response to MTX)
MTX given orally at 10 mg/m2 in divided doses once weekly. Prednisone was given orally at 1 mg/kg per day for 30 days and then tapered off in the subsequent 24 days. Patients not responding to MTX after 4 months received Cy orally at 100 mg daily in step two with the same prednisone schedule.
Drug: Cyclophosphamide
Patients not responding to MTX after 4 months received Cy orally at 100 mg daily in step two with the same prednisone schedule. In patients showing a partial response, but not a CR, the maximum period of therapy was 1 year.
Drug: Methotrexate
Initial treatment consisted of MTX given orally at 10 mg/m2 in divided doses once weekly.
Drug: Prednisone
Prednisone was given orally at 1 mg/kg per day for 30 days and then tapered off in the subsequent 24 days.

Detailed Description:

LGL leukemia is characterized by clonal expansion of cytotoxic T cells. Prominent clinical features include neutropenia, anemia, and rheumatoid arthritis. The terminal effector memory phenotype (CD3+/CD8+/CD57+/CD45RA+/CD62L-) of leukemic LGL suggest a pivotal chronic antigen driven immune response. LGL survival is then promoted by PDGF and IL-15, resulting in global dysregulation of apoptosis and resistance to normal pathways of activation-induced death. These pathogenic features explain why treatment of LGL leukemia is based on immunosuppression therapy. However, no standard therapy has been established due to the absence of large prospective trials.

Oral low dose MTX has been shown to be efficacious in the treatment of neutropenia. However, response to MTX is slow, requiring several months for the neutrophil count to increase above 500/mm3. Also, complete clinical remission may not be achieved until after one year of MTX therapy. Oral Cy has been the primary drug used for the treatment of severe transfusion-dependent anemia. Beneficial clinical effects are seen despite this treatment having no apparent effect on the abnormal LGL clone. Normal hematocrits are maintained after cessation of Cy and these results contrast the effects seen with MTX, in which clinical remissions are often associated with the disappearance of the clone.

This phase II trial undertaken by the Eastern Cooperative Group (ECOG) was initiated to investigate the mechanism of treatment response in patients with LGL leukemia, who need treatment for anemia or neutropenia.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No


  • Phenotypic studies from peripheral blood showing CD3+, CD57+ cells greater than 400/mm3 or CD8+ cells greater than 650/mm3 within eight weeks prior to registration
  • Evidence for clonal T-cell receptor gene rearrangement within one year prior to registration
  • At least one of the following: Severe neutropenia less than 500/mm3, neutropenia associated with recurrent infections, symptomatic anemia, or transfusion-dependent anemia
  • Bilirubin ≤ 2.0 mg/dl, SGOT(AST) ≤ 1.5 times normal, and Creatinine ≤ 2.0 mg/dl within 4 weeks prior to registration
  • ECOG performance status of 0-2
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Written informed consent


  • Prior therapy with oral MTX or oral Cy
  • Previous or concurrent malignancies except inactive non-melanoma skin cancer, in situ carcinoma of the cervix, or other cancer if the patient has been disease free for over 5 years
  • Pregnant or breast-feeding for female patients
  • Serious medical illness, other than that treated by the study, which would limit survival to less than 2 years, or psychiatric condition which would prevent informed consent

Note: to be eligible for step 2 of this study, patients were required to have no response after at least 4 months of methotrexate treatment.

  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00003910

  Show 68 Study Locations
Sponsors and Collaborators
Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Study Chair: Thomas P. Loughran, MD Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
  More Information

Responsible Party: Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Identifier: NCT00003910     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: CDR0000067089
U10CA021115 ( US NIH Grant/Contract Award Number )
E5998 ( Other Identifier: ECOG )
Study First Received: November 1, 1999
Results First Received: October 16, 2012
Last Updated: October 6, 2015

Keywords provided by Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group:
stage I chronic lymphocytic leukemia
stage II chronic lymphocytic leukemia
stage III chronic lymphocytic leukemia
stage IV chronic lymphocytic leukemia
T-cell large granular lymphocyte leukemia
LGL clone

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Leukemia, Lymphoid
Neoplasms by Histologic Type
Lymphoproliferative Disorders
Lymphatic Diseases
Immunoproliferative Disorders
Immune System Diseases
Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal
Abortifacient Agents
Reproductive Control Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Antineoplastic Agents
Dermatologic Agents
Enzyme Inhibitors
Folic Acid Antagonists
Immunosuppressive Agents
Immunologic Factors
Antirheumatic Agents
Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Hormones, Hormone Substitutes, and Hormone Antagonists processed this record on April 25, 2017