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Evaluation of left ventricular function in asymptomatic children about to undergo anthracycline-based chemotherapy for acute leukemia: an outcome study

Evaluation of left ventricular function in asymptomatic children about to undergo anthracycline-based chemotherapy for acute leukemia: an outcome study

Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology 23(7): 420-423

Cardiac toxicity is a well-recognized potential complication of anthracycline use. Children treated with anthracyclines undergo several cardiac screening procedures before therapy, but the usefulness of these pretherapy cardiac studies has never been evaluated. The authors examined whether induction chemotherapy in patients with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) was altered based on a pretherapy left ventricular shortening fraction (SF). Medical records of 134 children registered on treatment protocols of the Pediatric Oncology Group for high-risk B-precursor and T-cell ALL between 1987 and 1998 were reviewed. Demographic information consisting of age at diagnosis, sex, and past cardiac history was collected, as were the results of all echocardiographic evaluations for SF and actions taken based on these evaluations. The outcome measured was whether any changes were made in induction therapy based on initial SF. In addition, secondary SF results obtained at the cumulative anthracycline dose range of 90 to 150 mg/m2 were studied to determine whether modifications of future chemotherapy were made after this limited exposure. Three of 128 children (2.3%) without a previous cardiac history had an initial SF on their pretherapy echocardiogram that prompted additional evaluation but no change in therapy. A secondary analysis of SF in 85 children who completed anthracycline doses of 90 to 150 mg/m2 was performed. There were three (3.5%) with abnormal study results who were evaluated further. Again, no changes were made in the anthracycline doses based on these findings. No cardiac dysfunction occurred among these six patients during later follow-up. In the absence of a previous cardiac history or signs and symptoms or cardiac disease, pretherapy evaluation of left ventricular function may not be indicated in children about to undergo anthracycline-based treatment of acute leukemia. The timing of initiation of cardiac evaluation remains unclear, but these results suggest that even at a cumulative dose of 90 to 150 mg/m2, studies to determine left ventricular function do not yield data sufficient to warrant a change in the clinical management of these patients.

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Accession: 046010927

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PMID: 11878575

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