Childhood Leukaemia
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Leukaemia is the most common cancer of childhood. The body produces lymphocytes to protect the body from infection, in leukaemia these cells do not mature properly and become too numerous in the blood and bone marrow. Leukaemias may be acute or chronic. The most common type is acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). There are a number of other less common acute types which may be grouped together as acute non-lymphoblastic leukaemia (ANLL), this includes acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). This page contains links to information specifically related to Childhood Leukaemia, other relevant resources are available via the Main Menu of Children's Cancer Web

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Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukaemia

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Latest Research Publications

This list of publications is regularly updated (Source: PubMed).

Hall G, McGuire E
Milk supply related to childhood leukaemia treatment.
Breastfeed Rev. 2014; 22(2):29-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
This literature review and case study answers the question: 'Do the late effects of childhood cranial radiation therapy include impacts on breastfeeding?' PubMed was searched for papers using the terms lactation and cranial radiotherapy or childhood cranial radiotherapy. The case study was written from one author's experience of helping a mother with a history of childhood cranial radiation therapy. The few available studies report a high rate of lactation failure in women who were treated with cranial radiation therapy for childhood cancer, but the exceptions indicate that lactation failure is not inevitable in this group of mothers. Breastfeeding may ameliorate some of the adverse effects of cranial radiation therapy. Health professionals caring for mothers with a history of cranial radiation therapy must balance encouraging women to breastfeed with preparing them for the possibility that they may be unable to do so.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

Hui L, Lei Z, Peng Z, et al.
Polymorphism analysis of CTLA-4 in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Pak J Pharm Sci. 2014; 27(4 Suppl):1005-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
To investigate the correlation between cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) gene polymorphism and children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). A total of 86 children of ALL (23 HR, 54SR) and 112 healthy controls was selected. The genptypes were determined by means of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the PCR product sequencing. Genotype and alleles frequency of SNP-318, SNP+49 and SNP-CT60 were compares among different groups. The frequency of TC, TT genotype and T allele in ALL children at SNP-318 position were statistically higher than controls. In HR group, the frequency of TC, TT genotype at SNP-318 position was statistically higher than SR group. There was no significantly difference in genotype and allele distribution of SNP+49 position among the HR patients, SR patients and control group. (2) The frequency of GG genotype and G allele in ALL children at SNP-CT60 position were significantly higher than controls. The genotype and allele distribution of SNP-CT60 position between different clinical risk groups were no significantly different. As a result of the increased frequency of TC, TT genotype and T allele at SNP-318, ALL children synthesized more CTLA-4 to deliver the inhibitive signal, and this lead to restraint of T cell activation. Such difference at SNP-318 position was obvious in HR children. The SNP+49 position is probably not the main regulating point in ALL. (2) In SNP-CT60 position, the G allele played the main part. The increase of G allele frequency result in the high expression of CTLA-4. such difference at SNP-318 position was obvious in HR children.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology

Zgheib NK, Akra-Ismail M, Aridi C, et al.
Genetic polymorphisms in candidate genes predict increased toxicity with methotrexate therapy in Lebanese children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2014; 24(8):387-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study is to analyze polymorphisms in genes involved in 6-mercaptopurine detoxification (TPMT); methotrexate (MTX) metabolism including ABCB1 (or MDR1), ABCC2, SLC19A1 (or RFC1), and SLCO1B1; and the MTX effect mainly MTHFR and TYMS, and to assess whether these polymorphisms are predictors of treatment toxicity and/or MTX clearance.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study included 127 Lebanese acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients, of whom 117 were treated following the St Jude's Children Research Hospital protocol. Genotyping was performed using real-time PCR or restriction fragment length polymorphism. MTX levels were measured using a polarization fluorescence assay from Roche. MTX clearance was estimated on the basis of all available MTX levels measured after high-dose MTX treatment during the consolidation phase.
RESULTS: Five variants in four genes (MTHFR, ABCB1, ABCC2, and TYMS) were shown to be associated with toxicity, but neither was associated with MTX pharmacokinetic parameters. For instance, during the consolidation phase, a statistically significant association was found between MTHFR rs1801133 variant allele carriers and a decrease in hemoglobin levels [odds ratio (OR)=3.057; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.217; 7.680]. In addition, a statistically significant association was found among neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count<500) and variant allele carriers of ABCB1 rs1045642 (OR=5.174; 95% CI: 1.674; 15.989) and ABCB1 rs1128503 (OR=3.364; 95% CI: 1.257; 9.004), respectively. ABCC2 rs717620 variant allele carriers needed significantly more time to reach a MTX level below 0.1 µmol/l (β=5.122; 95% CI: 1.412; 8.831). During the continuation phase, a statistically significant association was found between ABCC2 rs717620 and TYMS 28-bp tandem repeats carriers with the need to decrease weekly MTX doses (β=-4.905; 95% CI: -9; -0.809 and β=-5.770; 95% CI: -10.138; -1.403), respectively.
CONCLUSION: Genotyping for MTHFR, ABCB1, ABCC2, and TYMS polymorphisms may be useful in identifying patients at risk of increased MTX toxicity and the need for dose optimization before treatment initiation.

Related: Mercaptopurine Methotrexate Polymorphisms Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology

Essig S, Li Q, Chen Y, et al.
Risk of late effects of treatment in children newly diagnosed with standard-risk acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: a report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study cohort.
Lancet Oncol. 2014; 15(8):841-51 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Treatment of patients with paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia has evolved such that the risk of late effects in survivors treated in accordance with contemporary protocols could be different from that noted in those treated decades ago. We aimed to estimate the risk of late effects in children with standard-risk acute lymphoblastic leukaemia treated with contemporary protocols.
METHODS: We used data from similarly treated members of the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study cohort. The Childhood Cancer Survivor Study is a multicentre, North American study of 5-year survivors of childhood cancer diagnosed between 1970 and 1986. We included cohort members if they were aged 1·0-9·9 years at the time of diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and had received treatment consistent with contemporary standard-risk protocols for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. We calculated mortality rates and standardised mortality ratios, stratified by sex and survival time, after diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. We calculated standardised incidence ratios and absolute excess risk for subsequent neoplasms with age-specific, sex-specific, and calendar-year-specific rates from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program. Outcomes were compared with a sibling cohort and the general US population.
FINDINGS: We included 556 (13%) of 4329 cohort members treated for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Median follow-up of the survivors from 5 years after diagnosis was 18·4 years (range 0·0-33·0). 28 (5%) of 556 participants had died (standardised mortality ratio 3·5, 95% CI 2·3-5·0). 16 (57%) deaths were due to causes other than recurrence of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Six (1%) survivors developed a subsequent malignant neoplasm (standardised incidence ratio 2·6, 95% CI 1·0-5·7). 107 participants (95% CI 81-193) in each group would need to be followed-up for 1 year to observe one extra chronic health disorder in the survivor group compared with the sibling group. 415 participants (376-939) in each group would need to be followed-up for 1 year to observe one extra severe, life-threatening, or fatal disorder in the group of survivors. Survivors did not differ from siblings in their educational attainment, rate of marriage, or independent living.
INTERPRETATION: The prevalence of adverse long-term outcomes in children treated for standard risk acute lymphoblastic leukaemia according to contemporary protocols is low, but regular care from a knowledgeable primary-care practitioner is warranted.
FUNDING: National Cancer Institute, American Lebanese-Syrian Associated Charities, Swiss Cancer Research.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology USA

Deziel NC, Rull RP, Colt JS, et al.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in residential dust and risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Environ Res. 2014; 133:388-95 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are known or probable human carcinogens. We evaluated the relationship between PAH exposure and risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) using concentrations in residential dust as an exposure indicator. We conducted a population-based case-control study (251 ALL cases, 306 birth-certificate controls) in Northern and Central California from 2001 to 2007. We collected residential dust using a high volume small surface sampler (HVS3) (n=185 cases, 212 controls) or by sampling from participants' household vacuum cleaners (n=66 cases, 94 controls). We evaluated log-transformed concentrations of 9 individual PAHs, the summed PAHs, and the summed PAHs weighted by their carcinogenic potency (the toxic equivalence). We calculated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) using logistic regression adjusting for demographic characteristics and duration between diagnosis/reference date and dust collection. Among participants with HVS3 dust, risk of ALL was not associated with increasing concentration of any PAHs based on OR perln(ng/g). Among participants with vacuum dust, we observed positive associations between ALL risk and increasing concentrations of benzo[a]pyrene (OR perln[ng/g]=1.42, 95% CI=0.95, 2.12), dibenzo[a,h]anthracene (OR=1.98, 95% CI=1.11, 3.55), benzo[k]fluoranthene (OR=1.71, 95% CI=0.91, 3.22), indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene (OR=1.81, 95% CI=1.04, 3.16), and the toxic equivalence (OR=2.35, 95% CI=1.18, 4.69). The increased ALL risk among participants with vacuum dust suggests that PAH exposure may increase the risk of childhood ALL; however, reasons for the different results based on HVS3 dust samples deserve further study.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology

Unal S, Cetin M, Hazirolan T, et al.
Number of erythrocyte transfusions is more predictive than serum ferritin in estimation of cardiac iron loading in pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Leuk Res. 2014; 38(8):882-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Transfusions with packed erythrocytes is a common practice in pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who are on chemotherapy. Since there is no physiological excretion mechanism for iron, the iron related to erythrocyte transfusions accumulates and may contribute to late cardiac, hepatic and endocrine complications in these patients.
PROCEDURE: In order to evaluate the iron burden among pediatric patients with ALL and define the risk factors associated with higher iron loading, we evaluated 79 pediatric patients with ALL (36 were off-therapy). Cardiac and hepatic T2* were ordered to a total of 22 (28%) patients who were either transfused with erythrocytes ≥ 10 times (n=11; 50%), had serum ferritin (SF) ≥ 1000 ng/ml (n=2; 9.1%) or both (n=9; 40.9%).
RESULTS: Half of the patients who were screened by T2* MRI had hepatic T2*<7 ms and six (27%) of the patients had cardiac T2*<20 ms, indicating iron loading. Patients who had serum ferritin <1000 vs ≥ 1000 ng/ml had median cardiac T2* values of 28.3 ms (15-40) vs 21 (7.9-36), (p=0.324); whereas hepatic T2* of 10.8 (5.32-27) vs 4.7 (2.2-36), (p=0.017). Patients who had erythrocyte transfusion <10 vs ≥ 10 times had median cardiac T2* values of 34 ms (28-38) vs 23 (7.93-40), (p=0.021); whereas hepatic T2* of 13.6 (6.6-36) vs 5.32 (2.2-27), (p=0.046).
CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that pediatric patients with ALL should be screened for transfusional iron load and the amount of erythrocyte transfusions seems to be a more reliable indication than serum ferritin levels to detect cardiac iron loading in these patients.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology

Vora A, Goulden N, Mitchell C, et al.
Augmented post-remission therapy for a minimal residual disease-defined high-risk subgroup of children and young people with clinical standard-risk and intermediate-risk acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (UKALL 2003): a randomised controlled trial.
Lancet Oncol. 2014; 15(8):809-18 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: No randomised study has shown whether stratification of treatment by minimal residual disease (MRD) response improves outcome in children and young people with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). We assessed whether children and young people with clinical standard and intermediate-risk ALL who have persistent MRD at the end of induction therapy benefit from augmented post-remission therapy.
METHODS: Between Oct 1, 2003, and June 30, 2011, we enrolled eligible patients aged 1-24 years and initially categorised them into clinical standard-risk, intermediate-risk, and high-risk groups on the basis of a combination of National Cancer Institute criteria, cytogenetics, and early morphological response to induction therapy. Clinical standard-risk and intermediate-risk patients with MRD of 0·01% or higher at day 29 of induction (MRD high risk) were randomly assigned (1:1) to standard therapy (treatment regimens A and B) or augmented post-remission therapy (regimen C). Compared with standard therapy, the augmented treatment regimen (regimen C) included an additional eight doses of pegylated asparaginase, 18 doses of vincristine, and escalated-dose intravenous methotrexate without folinic acid rescue during interim maintenance courses. Computer randomisation was used for treatment allocation and was balanced for sex, age (<10 years vs ≥10 years), and white blood cell count at diagnosis (<50 × 10(9)/L vs ≥50 × 10(9)/L) by minimisation. Patients, clinicians, and data analysts were not masked to treatment allocation. The primary outcomes were event-free survival and overall survival. Analyses were by intention to treat. This trial is registered with Current Controlled Trials, number ISRCTN07355119.
FINDINGS: 533 MRD high-risk patients were randomly assigned to receive standard (n=266) or augmented (n=267) post-remission therapy. After a median follow-up of 70 months (IQR 52-91), 5-year event-free survival was better in the augmented treatment group (89·6% [95% CI 85·9-93·3]) than in the standard group (82·8% [78·1-87·5]; odds ratio [OR] 0·61 [95% CI 0·39-0·98], p=0·04). Overall survival at 5 years was numerically, but not significantly, higher in the augmented treatment group (92·9% [95% CI 89·8-96·0]) than in the standard therapy group (88·9% [85·0-92·8]; OR 0·67 [95% CI 0·38-1·17], p=0·16). More adverse events occurred in the augmented treatment group than in the standard group (asparaginase-related hypersensitivity in 18 [6·7%] in the augmented group vs two [0·8%] in the standard group and asparaginase-related pancreatitis in eight [3·0%] vs one [0·4%]; intravenous methotrexate-related mucositis in 11 [4·1%] vs three [1·1%] and methotrexate-related stomatitis in 48 [18·0%] vs 12 [4·5%]).
INTERPRETATION: Our findings suggest that children and young people with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and 0·01% or more MRD at the end of remission induction therapy could benefit from augmented post-remission therapy. However, the asparaginase and intravenous methotrexate used in the augmented treatment regimen is associated with more adverse events than is the standard post-remission treatment regimen.
FUNDING: Medical Research Council and Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

Related: Mercaptopurine Crisantaspase Cyclophosphamide Cytarabine Doxorubicin Methotrexate Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology Vincristine

Wang SM, Sun LL, Zeng WX, et al.
Influence of genetic polymorphisms of FPGS, GGH, and MTHFR on serum methotrexate levels in Chinese children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2014; 74(2):283-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To investigate the correlation between common genetic polymorphisms of folylpolyglutamate synthase (FPGS), gamma-glutamyl hydrolase (GGH), and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) and serum levels of methotrexate (MTX) in Chinese children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
METHODS: Ninety-one children with ALL who received high-dose MTX were recruited. The polymorphisms FPGS (rs1544105 G>A), GGH (rs3758149 C>T), and MTHFR (rs1801133 C>T) were genotyped through polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Serum MTX was measured by fluorescence polarization immunoassay. The association between targeted polymorphisms and MTX concentration-to-dose (C/D) ratios was assessed, and between targeted polymorphisms and the percent of MTX above the therapeutic threshold (40 µmol/L).
RESULTS: The minor allele frequencies of rs1544105 G (34.1%), rs3758149 T (19.2%), and rs1801133 C (48.4%) observed in our population were significantly lower than those reported for European populations (64.2, 30.8, and 69.0%, respectively). The association between the GGH rs3758149 polymorphism and MTX C/D was gender-specific; in girls, the MTX C/D at 24 h of GGH rs3758149 CC carriers (12.09 μmol/L per g/m(2)) was significantly lower than that of CT or TT carriers (16.80 μmol/L per g/m(2)). The percent of serum MTX above the therapeutic threshold in GGH rs3758149 CC carriers (18.3%) was significantly lower than that of CT and TT carriers (38.7%). The MTX C/D ratios at 24 h and the percent of MTX >40 µmol/L for the A-T-T (three variant alleles) haplotype were significantly higher than those for other haplotypes combined (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that FPGS rs1544105, GGH rs3758149, and MTHFR rs1801133 polymorphisms contribute to the variability of MTX pharmacokinetics, and their genotyping may be useful to reduce toxicities associated with MTX therapy.

Related: Methotrexate Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology MTHFR

Belz K, Schoeneberger H, Wehner S, et al.
Smac mimetic and glucocorticoids synergize to induce apoptosis in childhood ALL by promoting ripoptosome assembly.
Blood. 2014; 124(2):240-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
Apoptosis resistance contributes to poor outcome in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Here, we identify a novel synergistic combination of Smac mimetic BV6 and glucocorticoids (GCs) (ie, dexamethasone, prednisolone) to trigger apoptosis in ALL cells. BV6 and GCs similarly cooperate to induce apoptosis in patient-derived leukemia samples, underlining the clinical relevance. Importantly, BV6/dexamethasone cotreatment is significantly more effective than monotherapy to delay leukemia growth in a patient-derived xenograft model of pediatric ALL without causing additional side effects. In contrast, BV6 does not increase cytotoxicity of dexamethasone against nonmalignant peripheral blood lymphocytes, mesenchymal stromal cells, and CD34-positive hematopoietic cells. We identify a novel mechanism by showing that BV6 and dexamethasone cooperate to deplete cIAP1, cIAP2, and XIAP, thereby promoting assembly of the ripoptosome, a RIP1/FADD/caspase-8-containing complex. This complex is critical and is required for BV6/dexamethasone-induced cell death, because RIP1 knockdown reduces caspase activation, reactive oxygen species production, and cell death. Ripoptosome formation occurs independently of autocrine/paracrine loops of death receptor ligands, because blocking antibodies for TNFα, tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand, or CD95 ligand or knockdown of death receptors fail to rescue BV6/dexamethasone-induced cell death. This is the first report showing that BV6 sensitizes for GC-triggered cell death by promoting ripoptosome formation with important implications for apoptosis-targeted therapies of ALL.

Related: Apoptosis Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology

Oshrine BR, Olsen MN, Heneghan M, et al.
Acquired isochromosome 12p, somatic TP53 and PTEN mutations, and a germline ATM variant in an adolescent male with concurrent acute megakaryoblastic leukemia and mediastinal germ cell tumor.
Cancer Genet. 2014; 207(4):153-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Previous reports have described an association between hematologic malignancies (HMs) and extragonadal germ cell tumor (GCT). Most patients have been adolescent males with mediastinal nonseminomatous GCT. Although a variety of HMs have been reported, there is a striking predilection toward acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (AMKL). Shared cytogenetic anomalies--particularly isochromosome 12p [i(12p)]--have suggested common clonal origins to the tumors. We report the case of a 17-year-old boy presenting with AMKL and a synchronous mediastinal GCT, with the characteristic i(12p) in both neoplasms. The common clonal origin of the AMKL and GCT was further confirmed with massively parallel sequencing, which identified somatic TP53 and PTEN mutations, as well as a rare germline ATM variant. Although these represent commonly mutated genes in cancer, this combination of mutations is not typically associated with either GCT or AMKL, suggesting that these tumors may represent unique biologic entities when they co-occur.

Related: Chromosome 12 FISH Germ Cell Tumors PTEN TP53

Liu HC, Yeh TC, Hou JY, et al.
Triple intrathecal therapy alone with omission of cranial radiation in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
J Clin Oncol. 2014; 32(17):1825-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To eliminate the toxicities and sequelae of cranial irradiation (CrRT) and to minimize the adverse impact of traumatic lumbar puncture (TLP) with blasts, a prospective study of a modified CNS-directed therapy was conducted in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Since June 1999, children with newly diagnosed ALL have been treated with triple intrathecal therapy (TIT) alone without CrRT. The first TIT was delayed until the disappearance of blasts from peripheral blood (PB) for up to 10 days of multidrug induction, and CrRT was omitted in all patients. If PB blasts persisted on treatment day 10 (d10), the TIT was then performed.
RESULTS: Of a total of 156 patients, 152 were eligible. Seventeen patients did not have PB blasts at diagnosis. Three fourths of the remaining patients achieved complete clearance of PB blasts by d10. Only hyperleukocytosis at diagnosis showed a significantly lower clearance rate. Six standard-risk patients were upgraded to high risk because of detectable PB blasts on d10. TLPs were encountered in four patients (2.6%), but none were contaminated with lymphoblasts. Neither CNS-2 (less than 5 WBCs/μL with blasts in a nontraumatic sample) nor CNS-3 (≥5 WBCs/μL with blasts in a nontraumatic sample or the presence of cranial nerve palsy) was present. The 5-year event-free survival and overall survival rates±SE were 84.2%±3.0% and 90.6%±2.4%, respectively. No isolated CNS relapse occurred, but two patients experienced combined CNS relapses. The 7-year cumulative risk of any CNS relapse was 1.4%±1.0%.
CONCLUSION: Delaying first TIT until circulating blasts have cleared may improve CNS control in children with newly diagnosed ALL and preclude the need for CrRT.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology

Park SI, Rogers BB
Monocytopenia as a diagnostic clue to pediatric B-lymphoblastic leukemia with rare circulating blasts.
Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2014 Mar-Apr; 17(2):112-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
B-lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (B-LL) is the most common childhood cancer. Circulating blasts in the peripheral blood may be rare (≤1%) and missed, even when flow cytometric immunophenotyping is performed, leading to a false-negative report. The records from all patients with a new diagnosis of B-LL between January 2009 and December 2011 at our institution were reviewed. Of 130 cases with peripheral blood flow cytometry, 15 had a blast count of ≤1%, with 14 having electronic files for gating monocytes. The percentage of monocytes by flow cytometry and absolute monocyte counts (AMCs) were compared with peripheral blood samples that were negative by flow cytometry, sent due to cytopenia of at least 1 lineage (n  =  39). The monocytes from the patients with leukemia averaged 0.8% and were statistically fewer than the negative controls, which averaged 7.1% (P < 0.001). Eleven of the 14 (79%) patients with leukemia had monocytes <1%, compared to only 3 (8%) of the negative controls. The AMCs were also significantly lower (P < 0.001), with 93% of the leukemia group having an AMC <100 cells/µL, compared to only 28% of the negative controls. In patients with cytopenias, percentage of monocytes may be an important diagnostic clue in determining the presence of occult leukemia. If flow cytometry is performed, acquisition of more than the standard 10,000 events is necessary to adequately assess for leukemia. If monocytes are <1% by flow cytometry in the setting of cytopenias, bone marrow examination is recommended, even with negative peripheral blood flow cytometry.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology

Hanff LM, Mathot RA, Smeets O, et al.
A novel 6-mercaptopurine oral liquid formulation for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients - results of a randomized clinical trial.
Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2014; 52(8):653-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are treated with oral 6-mercaptopurine (6MP) for nearly 2 years, but no pediatric formulation has been available. In this study, an oral 6MP liquid suitable for pediatric use was developed and tested in the target population.
METHOD: A randomized cross-over study was performed in 20 pediatric ALL patients (age 1.9 - 14.6 years), comparing pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of a newly developed 6MP liquid formulation to 6MP capsules, both taken orally for 4 weeks.
RESULTS: Based upon trough levels of the principal active metabolite,6-thioguanine nucleotides (6-TGN),a relative bioavailability of the liquid vs. capsules of 1.01 was found (90% CI 0.86 - 1.20), demonstrating bioequivalence. This was supported by the similarly observed 6MP dosages needed for leucocyte depletion, for both formulations (35 mg/day (range 10 - 115 mg)). 75% of the parents/patients (p = 0.005) preferred the oral liquid over the capsules because of the ease of administration.
CONCLUSION: We conclude that the novel 6MP liquid is a promising treatment for ALL.

Related: Mercaptopurine Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology

Mousa S, Mostafa S, Shaheen I, Elnoshokaty E
Detection of trisomy 4 and 10 in Egyptian pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Clin Lab. 2014; 60(4):609-14 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Improvement in cure rates for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has focused attention on better methods of identifying patients with increased or decreased risk of treatment failure. Chromosome aberrations have a major role in pediatric ALL risk assessment. The aim of this work is to detect the frequency of trisomy 4 and 10 in Egyptian pediatric ALL patients and to analyze their possible prognostic significance.
METHODS: Forty newly diagnosed pediatric ALL patients were subjected to bone marrow aspirate morphological examination and immunophenotyping. Detection of copy number of chromosome 4 and 10 was done using Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH) technique using whole chromosome painting probes.
RESULTS: Combined trisomy 4 and 10 was detected in 7 cases (17.5%), all of them were of B-ALL type. Single trisomy 4 or 10 was not detected in any case. Trisomy positive patients had a statistically significant lower total leucocytic count (p = 0.041), higher platelet count (p = 0.018), and lower blast percentage in peripheral blood (p = 0.016) at diagnosis.
CONCLUSIONS: Combined trisomy 4 and 10 identifies a group of ALL patients that have good prognostic indicators. Screening of Egyptian pediatric ALL patients for trisomy 4 and 10 may help in "patients' stratification" aiming to develop a risk-adapted therapy in order to minimize therapy related morbidities particularly in children.

Related: Chromosome 10 Chromosome 4 Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology

Walsh KM, de Smith AJ, Welch TC, et al.
Genomic ancestry and somatic alterations correlate with age at diagnosis in Hispanic children with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Am J Hematol. 2014; 89(7):721-5 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2015 Related Publications
Hispanic children have a higher incidence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) than non-Hispanic whites but tend to be diagnosed at older ages. In genome-wide association studies, Native American ancestry and polymorphisms in six genes have been associated with ALL risk. In multivariable regression models, we investigated whether genomic ancestry, inherited risk SNPs, or acquired somatic alterations were associated with differences in age at diagnosis in Hispanic children with B-cell ALL. Genome-wide array data were used to estimate each participant's percent membership in the three Hispanic ancestral populations: Native American, African, and European. Each 20% increase in European ancestry was associated with a six month younger age at diagnosis (95% CI = 0.36-11.6 months, P = 0.037). Correspondingly, each 20% increase in Native American ancestry was associated with a six-month older age at diagnosis (P = 0.037). Both the TEL-AML1 translocation and high-hyperdiploidy were associated with younger age at diagnosis (24.4 months, P = 2.0 x 10(-4) and 12.4 months, P = 0.011, respectively), while CDKN2A and IKZF1 deletions were associated with older age at diagnosis (19.7 months, P = 7.0 x 10(-4) and 18.1 months, P = 0.012, respectively). No associations with age at diagnosis were observed for RAS mutation, PAX5 deletion or for known heritable risk alleles in IKZF1, CDKN2A, PIP4K2A, GATA3, ARID5B, or CEBPE. Because younger age at diagnosis is associated with improved treatment outcomes for children with ALL, the effect of European ancestry on ALL survival may be mediated by its effect on age at diagnosis, or by proxy, its association with more treatable molecular subtypes of ALL.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology USA

Chávez-González A, Dorantes-Acosta E, Moreno-Lorenzana D, et al.
Expression of CD90, CD96, CD117, and CD123 on different hematopoietic cell populations from pediatric patients with acute myeloid leukemia.
Arch Med Res. 2014; 45(4):343-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: In trying to contribute to our knowledge on the biology of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC) from pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML), in the present study we analyzed the expression of four cell surface antigens relevant to human hematopoiesis-CD90, CD96, CD117, and CD123-in bone marrow from pediatric AML patients and normal control subjects.
METHODS: CD34(+) CD38(-) cells (enriched for HSC) and CD34(+) CD38(+) cells (enriched for HPC) were resolved on the basis of CD34 and CD38 expression. Concomitantly, expression of CD90 and CD96 or CD117 and CD123 was assessed by multicolor flow cytometry in each cell population.
RESULTS: CD90 and CD117 were expressed in a low proportion of CD34(+) CD38(-) and CD34(+) CD38(+) cells and no significant differences were observed between normal marrow and AML at diagnosis. In contrast, CD96(+) cells and CD123(+) cells were found at significantly higher levels in both cell populations from AML at diagnosis, as compared to normal marrow. Levels of both cell surface markers after treatment remained higher than in normal marrow.
DISCUSSION: These results show an increased frequency of CD96(+) and CD123(+) cells within the CD34(+) cell population from pediatric AML; this is consistent with the findings reported previously for adult AML. Our study supports the notion that expression of such antigens should be explored for their use as markers for diagnosis and prognosis.

Related: Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukaemia AML - Molecular Biology

Hasle H
A critical review of which children with acute myeloid leukaemia need stem cell procedures.
Br J Haematol. 2014; 166(1):23-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
The last decades have seen parallel improvements in chemotherapy-based and haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) regimens for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in children. There has been no consensus on indication for HSCT. Reserving HSCT for high-risk and relapsed patients spare many patients from the long-term toxicity of this treatment. The results of matched unrelated donor HSCT equal family donor transplantation and the presence of a matched sibling should no longer be a transplant indication. Minimal residual disease measured by flow cytometry may identify poor responders benefitting from HSCT in first complete remission (CR1) and those with a favourable response to induction therapy who do not need HSCT even with adverse cytogenetic aberrations. FLT3-internal tandem duplication without NPM1 mutation has a very high relapse rate despite favourable response and HSCT is indicated in CR1 in these cases. Finding the optimal indications for HSCT is a delicate balance between risk of relapse and late effects.

Related: Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukaemia AML - Molecular Biology

Meulepas JM, Ronckers CM, Smets AM, et al.
Leukemia and brain tumors among children after radiation exposure from CT scans: design and methodological opportunities of the Dutch Pediatric CT Study.
Eur J Epidemiol. 2014; 29(4):293-301 [PubMed] Related Publications
Computed tomography (CT) scans are indispensable in modern medicine; however, the spectacular rise in global use coupled with relatively high doses of ionizing radiation per examination have raised radiation protection concerns. Children are of particular concern because they are more sensitive to radiation-induced cancer compared with adults and have a long lifespan to express harmful effects which may offset clinical benefits of performing a scan. This paper describes the design and methodology of a nationwide study, the Dutch Pediatric CT Study, regarding risk of leukemia and brain tumors in children after radiation exposure from CT scans. It is a retrospective record-linkage cohort study with an expected number of 100,000 children who received at least one electronically archived CT scan covering the calendar period since the introduction of digital archiving until 2012. Information on all archived CT scans of these children will be obtained, including date of examination, scanned body part and radiologist's report, as well as the machine settings required for organ dose estimation. We will obtain cancer incidence by record linkage with external databases. In this article, we describe several approaches to the collection of data on archived CT scans, the estimation of radiation doses and the assessment of confounding. The proposed approaches provide useful strategies for data collection and confounder assessment for general retrospective record-linkage studies, particular those using hospital databases on radiological procedures for the assessment of exposure to ionizing or non-ionizing radiation.

Related: Childhood Brain Tumours Childhood Brain Tumors

Abulaban AA, Algahtani HA, Alharthi A
A child with leukemia and behavioral changes.
Neurosciences (Riyadh). 2014; 19(2):144-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
A 12-year-old Saudi girl, known case of T-cell leukemia with CNS relapse. She was diagnosed 2 years ago. Multiple cycles of chemotherapy had been used (Fludarabine, Cytarabine, Methotrexate, Cyclosporine, and Mercaptopurine). She was admitted electively for cord blood transplantation. Afterward, she developed visual, and behavioral change followed by seizure.

Lundin C, Forestier E, Klarskov Andersen M, et al.
Clinical and genetic features of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia in Down syndrome in the Nordic countries.
J Hematol Oncol. 2014; 7(1):32 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Children with Down syndrome (DS) have an increased risk for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Although previous studies have shown that DS-ALL differs clinically and genetically from non-DS-ALL, much remains to be elucidated as regards genetic and prognostic factors in DS-ALL.
METHODS: To address clinical and genetic differences between DS-ALL and non-DS-ALL and to identify prognostic factors in DS-ALL, we ascertained and reviewed all 128 pediatric DS-ALL diagnosed in the Nordic countries between 1981 and 2010. Their clinical and genetic features were compared with those of the 4,647 B-cell precursor (BCP) ALL cases diagnosed during the same time period.
RESULTS: All 128 DS-ALL were BCP ALL, comprising 2.7% of all such cases. The 5-year event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) were significantly (P = 0.026 and P = 0.003, respectively) worse for DS-ALL patients with white blood cell counts ≥50 × 109/l. The age distributions varied between the DS and non-DS cases, with age peaks at 2 and 3 years, respectively; none of the DS patients had infant ALL (P = 0.029). The platelet counts were lower in the DS-ALL group (P = 0.005). Abnormal karyotypes were more common in non-DS-ALL (P < 0.0001), and there was a significant difference in the modal number distribution, with only 2% high hyperdiploid DS-ALL cases (P < 0.0001). The 5-year EFS and 5-year OS were significantly worse for DS-ALL (0.574 and 0.691, respectively) compared with non-DS-ALL (0.783 and 0.894, respectively) in the NOPHO ALL-1992/2000 protocols (P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: The present study adds further support for genetic and clinical differences between DS-ALL and non-DS-ALL.

Related: FISH Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology

Hiniker SM, Agarwal R, Modlin LA, et al.
Survival and neurocognitive outcomes after cranial or craniospinal irradiation plus total-body irradiation before stem cell transplantation in pediatric leukemia patients with central nervous system involvement.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2014; 89(1):67-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To evaluate survival and neurocognitive outcomes in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients with central nervous system (CNS) involvement treated according to an institutional protocol with stem cell transplantation (SCT) and a component of craniospinal irradiation (CSI) in addition to total-body irradiation (TBI) as preparative regimen.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Forty-one pediatric ALL patients underwent SCT with TBI and received additional cranial irradiation or CSI because of CNS leukemic involvement. Prospective neurocognitive testing was performed before and after SCT in a subset of patients. Cox regression models were used to determine associations of patient and disease characteristics and treatment methods with outcomes.
RESULTS: All patients received a cranial radiation boost; median total cranial dose was 24 Gy. Eighteen patients (44%) received a spinal boost; median total spinal dose for these patients was 18 Gy. Five-year disease-free survival (DFS) for all patients was 67%. Those receiving CSI had a trend toward superior DFS compared with those receiving a cranial boost alone (hazard ratio 3.23, P=.14). Patients with isolated CNS disease before SCT had a trend toward superior DFS (hazard ratio 3.64, P=.11, 5-year DFS 74%) compared with those with combined CNS and bone marrow disease (5-year DFS 59%). Neurocognitive testing revealed a mean post-SCT overall intelligence quotient of 103.7 at 4.4 years. Relative deficiencies in processing speed and/or working memory were noted in 6 of 16 tested patients (38%). Pre- and post-SCT neurocognitive testing revealed no significant change in intelligence quotient (mean increase +4.7 points). At a mean of 12.5 years after transplant, 11 of 13 long-term survivors (85%) had completed at least some coursework at a 2- or 4-year college.
CONCLUSION: The addition of CSI to TBI before SCT in pediatric ALL with CNS involvement is effective and well-tolerated. Craniospinal irradiation plus TBI is worthy of further protocol investigation in children with CNS leukemia.

Related: Childhood Brain Tumours Childhood Brain Tumors Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology Stem Cell and Bone Marrow Transplants

Mei Y, Gao C, Wang K, et al.
Effect of microRNA-210 on prognosis and response to chemotherapeutic drugs in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Cancer Sci. 2014; 105(4):463-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
Many studies have demonstrated that microRNA-210 (miR-210) expression is intensively upregulated in hypoxic states and differentially regulated in most types of cancer cells. However, the clinical significance of miR-210 and its effects on the response of leukemic cells to chemotherapeutic drugs in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) remain unknown. In the current study, using real-time qRT-PCR to detect miR-210 expression in bone marrow samples from 114 children at initial diagnosis of ALL, we investigated the prognostic significance of miR-210 and determined its associations with common clinical characteristics and treatment outcome. We further examined its effect on the response to chemotherapeutic drugs in the Reh and RS4;11 cell lines. Results showed that miR-210 expression was significantly lower in patients suffering from relapse and induction failure than in other patients (P < 0.001). Using the receiver operating characteristic curve, 3.8243 was selected as the cut-off value of miR-210 expression in our test cohort (38 cases). A significantly poorer treatment outcome (P < 0.05) was found in the low-expression group and verified in the validation cohort (76 cases, P < 0.05). Patients with low expression of miR-210 and positive minimal residual disease at the end of induction had a much higher rate of relapse or induction failure (P = 0.001). Increasing/decreasing miR-210 expression using agomir/antagomir could enhance or reduce the response of Reh cells and RS4;11 cells to daunorubicin/dexamethasone/L-asparaginase and daunorubicin/dexamethasone/vincristine, respectively. In conclusion, miR-210 may be a good prognostic factor and a useful predictor of drug sensitivity, and is a potential therapeutic target for pediatric ALL.

Related: Daunorubicin Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology

El Mesallamy HO, Rashed WM, Hamdy NM, Hamdy N
High-dose methotrexate in Egyptian pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia: the impact of ABCG2 C421A genetic polymorphism on plasma levels, what is next?
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2014; 140(8):1359-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: High-dose methotrexate (HD-MTX) is a cornerstone antineoplastic drug in most treatment protocols of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Among the membrane efflux transporters of MTX, the human breast cancer resistant protein is the second member of the G subfamily of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) efflux pump (ABCG2). A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in ABCG2, the exchange of C to A at position 421, represents 13 % in the Middle Eastern population. We studied the effect of this SNP on the plasma levels of HD-MTX in Egyptian pediatric ALL.
METHODS: Two hundred ALL patients were recruited from Children's Cancer Hospital Egypt-57357, and all were treated according to the St Jude Total XV protocol. Determination of plasma MTX levels was done at 23, 42 and 68 h. Genotyping of C421A of ABCG2 was done by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism.
RESULTS: We found 14.5 % of the variant allele of the ABCG2 C421A SNP. The statistical association between ABCG2 421C>A SNP and the cutoff toxic plasma level of 24 h HD-MTX infusion at different time points tested was not statistically significant. There was no statistical significance between steady-state plasma concentration in patients with and without with this SNP.
CONCLUSION: To date, this is the largest study on Egyptian ALL patients for this SNP. This study shows that there is no effect of ABCG2 421C>A on plasma concentrations of HD-MTX. Replacing candidate gene association studies with genome-wide studies of HD-MTX is now mandatory and is part of our research blueprint.

Related: Methotrexate Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology ABCG2

Parasole R, Petruzziello F, De Matteo A, et al.
Hypereosinophilia in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at diagnosis: report of 2 cases and review of the literature.
Ital J Pediatr. 2014; 40:36 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2015 Related Publications
Hypereosinophilia as first clinical presentation has rarely been reported in paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. It is commonly associated with specific cytogenetic abnormalities. Although eosinophilia is considered a reactive, non-neoplastic epiphenomenon, it adversely affects patient outcomes, both in children and adults. We describe herewith two paediatric patients who had marked eosinophilia at onset of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. We point out the importance of a correct differential diagnosis in persistent, unexplained peripheral hypereosinophilia. Clinicians should keep in mind that eosinophilia can be part of the overall pattern of acute leukaemia and therefore needs to be properly investigated. We also provide some recommendations for an appropriate approach to hypereosinophilia - related morbidities.

Related: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

Patrick K, Wade R, Goulden N, et al.
Outcome for children and young people with Early T-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukaemia treated on a contemporary protocol, UKALL 2003.
Br J Haematol. 2014; 166(3):421-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
We investigated the outcome for children and young people with Early T-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ETP-ALL), a recently described poor prognosis sub-group of T-ALL, treated on a contemporary protocol, UKALL 2003. After a median follow-up of 4 years and 10 months, the ETP sub-group, representing 16% of T-ALL patients, had non-significantly inferior 5-year event-free survival (76·7% vs. 84·6%, P = 0·2) and overall survival (82·4% vs. 90·9%, P = 0·1), and a higher relapse rate (18·6% vs. 9·6%, P = 0·1) compared to typical T-ALL. ETP-ALL has an intermediate risk outcome, which does not warrant experimental treatment or first remission allogeneic transplant for the group universally.

Kuehni C, Spycher BD
Nuclear power plants and childhood leukaemia: lessons from the past and future directions.
Swiss Med Wkly. 2014; 144:w13912 [PubMed] Related Publications
In the 1980s, leukaemia clusters were discovered around nuclear fuel reprocessing plants in Sellafield and Dounreay in the United Kingdom. This raised public concern about the risk of childhood leukaemia near nuclear power plants (NPPs). Since then, the topic has been well-studied, but methodological limitations make results difficult to interpret. Our review aims to: (1.) summarise current evidence on the relationship between NPPs and risk of childhood leukaemia, with a focus on the Swiss CANUPIS (Childhood cancer and nuclear power plants in Switzerland) study; (2.) discuss the limitations of previous research; and (3.) suggest directions for future research. There are various reasons that previous studies produced inconclusive results. These include: inadequate study designs and limited statistical power due to the low prevalence of exposure (living near a NPP) and outcome (leukaemia); lack of accurate exposure estimates; limited knowledge of the aetiology of childhood leukaemia, particularly of vulnerable time windows and latent periods; use of residential location at time of diagnosis only and lack of data on address histories; and inability to adjust for potential confounders. We conclude that risk of childhood leukaemia around NPPs should continue to be monitored and that study designs should be improved and standardised. Data should be pooled internationally to increase the statistical power. More research needs to be done on other putative risk factors for childhood cancer such as low-dose ionizing radiation, exposure to certain chemicals and exposure to infections. Studies should be designed to allow examining multiple exposures.

Jeljeli M, Guérin-El Khourouj V, Porcher R, et al.
Relationship between cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation, CMV-driven immunity, overall immune recovery and graft-versus-leukaemia effect in children.
Br J Haematol. 2014; 166(2):229-39 [PubMed] Related Publications
The interplay between immune recovery, cytomegalovirus (CMV)-reactivation, CMV-driven immunity and graft-versus-leukaemia effect (GVL) was analysed in 108 children (median age: 8 years) who underwent haematopoietic-stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for acute leukaemia. Follow-up was 2 years unless death or relapse occurred. CMV-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was programmed weekly until month +3 post-HSCT. Immunomonitoring consisted of sequential lymphocyte subset enumerations and analyses of T-cell proliferative and γ-interferon responses to CMV and to adenovirus. In the 108 recipients, the 2-year relapse rate (RR) was 25% (median time to onset 4·5 months; range: 24 d-17 months). CMV reactivation occurrence was 31% (median time to onset 26 d). Donor/recipient CMV serostatus did not influence RR. Among the 89 recipients disease-free after day +120, i) early CMV-reactivation before day +30 was more frequent (P = 0·01) in the relapse recipient group opposed to the non-relapse group. ii) CD8(+) /CD28(-) and CD4(+) CD45RA(-) T-cell expansions induced by CMV did not influence RR, iii) Recovery of anti-CMV and also anti-adenovirus immunity and of naïve CD4(+) T-cells was faster in the non-relapse group (P = 0·008; 0·009 and 0·002 respectively). In contrast to adult acute myeloid leukaemia, CMV reactivation was associated with increased RR in this paediatric series. Accelerated overall immune recovery rather than CMV-driven immunity had a favourable impact on RR.

Henriksen LT, Nersting J, Raja RA, et al.
Cerebrospinal fluid asparagine depletion during pegylated asparaginase therapy in children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Br J Haematol. 2014; 166(2):213-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
L-asparaginase is an important drug in the treatment of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) asparagine depletion is considered a marker of asparaginase effect in the central nervous system (CNS) and may play a role in CNS-directed anti-leukaemia therapy. The objective of this study was to describe CSF asparagine depletion during 30 weeks of pegylated asparaginase therapy, 1000 iu/m(2) i.m. every second week, and to correlate CSF asparagine concentration with serum L-asparaginase enzyme activity. Danish children (1-17 years) with ALL, treated according to the Nordic Society of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology ALL2008 protocol, standard and intermediate risk, were included. CSF samples were obtained throughout L-asparaginase treatment at every scheduled lumbar puncture. A total of 128 samples from 31 patients were available for analysis. Median CSF asparagine concentration decreased from a pre-treatment level of 5·3 μmol/l to median levels ≤1·5 μmol/l. However, only 4/31 patients (five samples) had CSF asparagine concentrations below the limit of detection (0·1 μmol/l). In 11 patients, 24 paired same day serum and CSF samples were obtained. A decrease in CSF asparagine corresponded to serum enzyme activities above 50 iu/l. Higher serum enzyme activities were not followed by more extensive depletion. In conclusion, pegylated asparaginase 1000 iu/m(2) i.m. every second week effectively reduced CSF asparagine levels.

Related: Crisantaspase Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Childhood Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) ALL - Molecular Biology

Bailey HD, Fritschi L, Infante-Rivard C, et al.
Parental occupational pesticide exposure and the risk of childhood leukemia in the offspring: findings from the childhood leukemia international consortium.
Int J Cancer. 2014; 135(9):2157-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
Maternal occupational pesticide exposure during pregnancy and/or paternal occupational pesticide exposure around conception have been suggested to increase risk of leukemia in the offspring. With a view to providing insight in this area we pooled individual level data from 13 case-control studies participating in the Childhood Leukemia International Consortium (CLIC). Occupational data were harmonized to a compatible format. Pooled individual analyses were undertaken using unconditional logistic regression. Using exposure data from mothers of 8,236 cases, and 14,850 controls, and from fathers of 8,169 cases and 14,201 controls the odds ratio (OR) for maternal exposure during pregnancy and the risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) was 1.01 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.78, 1.30] and for paternal exposure around conception 1.20 (95% 1.06, 1.38). For acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the OR for maternal exposure during pregnancy was 1.94 (CI 1.19, 3.18) and for paternal exposure around conception 0.91 (CI 0.66, 1.24.) based on data from 1,329 case and 12,141 control mothers, and 1,231 case and 11,383 control fathers. Our finding of a significantly increased risk of AML in the offspring with maternal exposure to pesticides during pregnancy is consistent with previous reports. We also found a slight increase in risk of ALL with paternal exposure around conception which appeared to be more evident in children diagnosed at the age of 5 years or more and those with T cell ALL which raises interesting questions on possible mechanisms.

Related: Breast cancer in pregnancy

Nakamura Y, Taniguchi H, Mizoguchi K, et al.
Secondary EML4-ALK-positive lung adenocarcinoma in a patient previously treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia in childhood: a case report.
Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2014; 44(6):593-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
It is widely recognized that the risk of secondary neoplasms increases as childhood cancer survivors progress through adulthood. These are mainly hematological malignancies, and recurrent chromosome translocations are commonly detected in such cases. On the other hand, while secondary epithelial malignancies have sometimes been reported, chromosome translocations in these epithelial malignancies have not. A 33-year-old man who had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and treated with chemotherapy almost 20 years earlier was diagnosed with lung adenocarcinoma. After chromosomal rearrangement of echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 gene and the anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene was detected in this adenocarcinoma, he responded to treatment with crizotinib. It was therefore concluded that this echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 gene-anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene-positive lung adenocarcinoma was a secondary epithelial malignancy.

Related: Lung Cancer Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Crizotinib (Xalkori)

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