A randomized controlled trial of an intensive insulin regimen in patients with hyperglycemic acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Khanh Vu, Naifa Busaidy, Maria E. Cabanillas, Marina Konopleva, Stefan Faderl, Deborah A. Thomas, Susan O'Brien, Kristine Broglio, Joe Ensor, Carmen Escalante, Michael Andreeff, Hagop Kantarjian, Victor Lavis, Sai Ching Jim Yeung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Introduction: Hyperglycemia during hyper-CVAD (fractionated cyclophosphamide, vincristine, doxorubicin, and dexamethasone alternating with methotrexate and high-dose cytarabine, with methylprednisolone premedication) chemotherapy is associated with poor outcomes of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Patients and Methods: To examine whether an intensive insulin regimen could improve outcomes compared with conventional antidiabetic pharmacotherapy, a randomized trial was conducted that compared glargine plus aspart vs. conventional therapy (control). Between April 2004 and July 2008, 52 patients newly diagnosed with ALL, Burkitt lymphoma, or lymphoblastic lymphoma who were on hyper-CVAD in the inpatient setting and had a random serum glucose level >180 mg/dL on <2 occasions during chemotherapy were enrolled. Results: The trial was terminated early due to futility regarding ALL clinical outcomes despite improved glycemic control. Secondary analysis revealed that molar insulin-to-C-peptide ratio (I/C) > 0.175 (a surrogate measure of exogenous insulin usage) was associated with decreased overall survival, complete remission duration and progression-free survival (PFS), whereas metformin and/or thiazolidinedione usage were associated with increased PFS. In multivariate analyses, factors that significantly predicted short overall survival included age < 60 years (P =.0002), I/C < 0.175 (P =.0016), and average glucose level < 180 mg/dL (P =.0236). Factors that significantly predicted short PFS included age < 60 years (P =.0008), I/C < 0.175 (P =.0002), high systemic risk (P =.0173) and average glucose level < 180 mg/dL (P =.0249). I/C < 0.175 was the only significant (P =.0042) factor that predicted short complete remission duration. Conclusions: A glargine-plus-aspart intensive insulin regimen did not improve ALL outcomes in patients with hyperglycemia. Exogenous insulin may be associated with poor outcomes, whereas metformin and thiazolidinediones may be associated with improved outcomes. Analysis of these results suggests that the choice of antidiabetic pharmacotherapy may influence ALL outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-362
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Lymphoma, Myeloma and Leukemia
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Diabetes
  • Intensive insulin regimen
  • Metformin
  • Secretagogues
  • Thiazolidinediones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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