"He went through six operations and was placed on a clinical trial so he could try new treatments.”
A trial looking at treatment for children and young people with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH-III)
This trial was trying to improve treatment for children and young people with Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH). The trial was for children and young people up to and including the age of 17.
LCH is a very rare condition that affects both children and adults. Langerhans cells are a type of white blood cell called a
Although LCH is not cancer, it can behave in a similar way to cancer and is usually treated by cancer specialists. The behaviour of LCH and its treatment varies a lot. Some children do not need treatment while others may need chemotherapy, with or without steroids.
Doctors wanted to develop new treatments for all children with LCH. These could then be compared to other available treatments.
This trial was trying to find out if
- Some children would benefit from treatment over a year, rather than 6 months
- Adding methotrexate to treatment would help to stop LCH coming back in other children
Summary of results
Some early results from this trial suggest that Langerhans cell histiocytosis was less likely to come back in children who had treatment for a year than in those who had treatment for 6 months. In another group of children, the early results showed that adding methotrexate to treatment did not make a difference to the average length of time before LCH came back.
The trial recruited 2 different groups of children and young people. Those in group 1 were considered to be high risk, as the LCH was affecting body organs such as the
The children in group 2 were considered to be low risk because although the LCH was affecting more than 1 part of their body, it was not in any of the organs listed above.
Children in group 1 were put into 2 further groups at random. This is called randomisation.
- 115 had vinblastine, mercaptopurine and a steroid called prednisolone
- 119 had vinblastine, mercaptopurine, prednisolone and methotrexate
Early findings from this study show that children in both groups had similar responses to treatment. Adding methotrexate did not increase the initial response rate nor change the average length of time children with high risk LCH lived without the disease coming back.
All the children in group 2 had treatment with vinblastine and prednisolone. But they were also randomised to 2 further groups. Some had treatment for 6 months, some carried on for a year.
The early findings suggest that having treatment for a year may increase the amount of time before the LCH came back in these children with low risk LCH.
More studies are being planned to improve treatment for all children with Langerhans cell histiocytosis.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (
How to join a clinical trial
Cancer Research UK Children's Cancer Trials Team
University of Birmingham
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)