Eighty-four children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) who had relapsed in bone marrow were studied to assess whether treatment would be more successful if relapse was detected before the disease became clinically evident. Patients whose relapse was detected by routine bone marrow examination before the disease became apparent were compared with those whose relapse was suspected from clinical examination or peripheral blood findings. In the former there was a lower percentage of blast cells in the marrow (p less than 0.02) and the patients suffered less from complications of the disease, but there was no difference in the incidence or duration of second remissions between the two groups.
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