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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1996 Mar 1;34(4):843-51.

Toxicities of total-body irradiation for pediatric bone marrow transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California, San Francsico, CA 94143, USA.



To determine the acute and late effects, including cognitive function, of total body irradiation (TBI) and chemotherapy for bone transplant (BMT) in children with immunodeficiency or hematologic disorders.


At UCSF, 15 children with immunodeficiency disorders and 58 children with leukemia received chemoradiotherapy between July 1982 and November 1993 and were evaluated for toxicity. Patients with severe combined immunodeficiency disorder (SCID) received 7 Gy TBI while leukemia patients received 12 Gy TBI.


Eight immunodeficient patients (53%) are alive at 4 months to 11 years posttransplant. Acute toxicity was limited and treatment well tolerated. Most patients developed mild nausea and vomiting, skin rash, or erythema. Transient fever/chills, oral mucositis, and alopecia were noted in approximately 50% of patients. Seventy-three percent of all patients demonstrated acute liver dysfunction, but only four (27%) developed veno-occlusive disease. All children had decreased growth velocity but normal growth hormone levels. Other endocrinologic evaluations including adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), cortisol, and thyroid hormones were normal. Only one evaluable girl had delayed puberty with late onset of secondary sexual characteristics. Neuropsychological testing demonstrated an intelligence quotient (IQ) reduction between the baseline and 1 year post-BMT, with some recovery at 3 years. Only one patient developed a clinically significant cataract. Thirteen percent of patients had chronic interstitial lung disease. Four children developed exostosis. Only 1 of the 15 children developed a second malignancy (acute myelogenous leukemia) at age 5, 51 months posttransplant for SCID. For patients with leukemia, similar toxicities were observed. Twenty-nine percent disease-free survival was noted with a mean follow-up of 4.7 years. Twenty-two percent had chronic interstitial lung disease and two patients were diagnosed with cataracts. Graft-vs.-host-disease (GVHD), pubertal development arrest, and delayed puberty were seen. One child developed papillary thyroid carcinoma, 49 months post-BMT. Similar neuropsychological testing decrements were also observed.


Our experience suggests that intensive chemoradiotherapy, even at a young age, does not cause severe, acute, or late toxicities but does result in a small IQ decrement and the risk of secondary malignancy in children with long-term follow-up.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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