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Int J Hematol. 2013 Feb;97(2):216-22. doi: 10.1007/s12185-012-1236-1. Epub 2013 Jan 26.

The glucocorticoid receptor gene polymorphism N363S predisposes to more severe toxic side effects during pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) therapy.

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  • 12nd Department of Paediatrics, Semmelweis University, Faculty of Medicine, Tüzoltó u.7-9, Budapest 1094, Hungary.


The survival rates in childhood acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL) have improved dramatically; however, patients still suffer from a variety of drug-related toxicities. Individualized therapy regimens promise the least toxic therapy regimen with the best hematologic outcome. Our aim was to investigate whether increased individual glucocorticoid sensitivity due to the N363S polymorphism of the glucocorticoid receptor increased susceptibility to steroid-related toxicities during ALL therapy. A total of 346 pediatric ALL patients were involved in the present study. N363S carrier status was investigated by allele-specific PCR. Clinical and laboratory signs of glucocorticoid-related toxicities, Day 8 prednisone response, and 5-year event-free survival were analyzed and compared retrospectively. Thirty-two of the 346 patients were heterozygous carriers (9.2 %). Hepatotoxicity (31.3 vs. 11.2 %, p = 0.004, carriers and non-carriers, respectively) and glucose metabolism abnormalities (18.8 vs. 3.8 %, p = 0.001, carriers and non-carriers, respectively) were significantly more frequent among carriers. There was no difference in the incidence of hypertension and encephalopathy/psychosis among carriers and non-carriers. Carriers were also more prone to have a combination of toxicities. All 363S carriers were good prednisone responders (100 %) and had significantly better 5-year event-free survival rates (93.1 vs. 71.86 %, p = 0.012), whereas among non-carriers there were more poor prednisone responders (8.28 %) and worse 5-year event-free survival rates. Patients with the N363S polymorphism in the glucocorticoid receptor are more prone to steroid-related toxicity during ALL therapy and should be monitored more closely. Patients with N363S polymorphism of the glucocorticoid receptor may be appropriate candidates for inclusion in the design of individualized therapies.

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