From the Journals

Study: Complications from childhood ALL and its treatment are common, but can be managed


FROM Clinical Lymphoma, Myeloma & Leukemia

Despite survival after treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a high percentage of children suffered acute complications, even without relapse, according to a report published online in Clinical Lymphoma, Myeloma & Leukemia.

In a retrospective study of 110 children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), Ayse Pınar Öztürk, MD, and colleagues at Istanbul University, Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine, evaluated the acute complications that occurred during the treatment of childhood ALL and documented their survival rates. The 110 patients, comprising 65 boys and 45 girls, were all treated with the Children’s Oncology Group protocol from 1999 to 2014.

The mean age at admission was 8.3 years and 97 patients (88.2%) were diagnosed with pre–B-cell ALL, 11 (10%) with T-cell ALL, 1 (0.9%) with mixed phenotype acute leukemia, and 1 (0.9%) with mature B-cell acute leukemia. A total of 36.3% were evaluated to be in the standard-risk group and the rest were in the high-risk group. Regular follow-up and evaluation for acute complications was available for 105 of the patients.

Survival and complications

Of the 110 patients, 98 were assessed in the survival analyses. The 5- and 10-year overall survival rates were both 85.9%, while the relapse-free survival rates at 1, 3, and 5 years were 97.9%, 91.3%, and 86.3%, respectively. These results are favorable and in line with good results reported in the literature, according to the researchers.

In terms of acute complications, infection was the most common (88.5%), followed by gastrointestinal (27.6%), neurologic (26.6%), metabolic/endocrine (15.2%), drug-related hypersensitivity (15.2%), avascular necrosis (12.3%), thrombotic (10.4%), severe psychiatric (1.9%), and various other complications (11.4%).

In the present study, 13 of the 98 patients (13.3%) died. All 13 patients had been in the high-risk group and 9 had had relapsed ALL. Of the 13 deaths, 8 (8.2%) had resulted from treatment resistance and toxicity and 5 (5.1%) from severe infection (sepsis).

During ALL treatment, various complications can occur related to the disease itself or the treatment, according to the authors. However, they added that in regularly and closely monitored patients, complications can be effectively prevented, treated, and eliminated by aggressive observation and prompt intervention.

“In our study, the short hospitalization period, prompt implementation of protocol updates, rapid analysis of laboratory tests, continuous supportive care, efficient education given to the parents of children, and consistently undertaking patient care and treatment management by the same expert team increased the success of the therapy and ensured low complication rates,” the researchers concluded.

The authors reported that they had no conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Öztürk AP et al. Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk. 2020 Sep 17. doi: 10.1016/j.clml.2020.08.025.

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