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Indian Pediatr. 2000 Jul;37(7):720-6.

Protein energey malnutrition and skeletal muscle wasting in childhood acute lymphoblastic lukemia.

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Division of Pediatric Hematology - Oncology, Advanced Pediatric Center and Department of Radiodiagnosis, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh 160 012, India.



To determine the nutritional status and the extent of skeletal muscle wasting in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at the time of diagnosis and after induction chemotherapy.


Prospective observational study.


Tertiary care teaching hospital.


25 new cases of ALL underwent somatometric measurements and ultrasonographic evaluation of skeletal muscle and subcutaneous fat at initial presentation and after completion of induction therapy.


Malnutrition (weight for age < 80percnt) was evident in 13 cases (52percnt), but cumulative incidence of malnutrition (weight for age < 80percnt, weight for height < 90percnt, height for age < 95percnt, skin fold thickness < 5th centile, midarm muscle circumference < 5th centile) was 88percnt. Nine children lost weight during induction (range: 0.2 to 5.8 kg; means +/- SD: 1.9 plusmn 1.8 kg). All these cases had a complicated course during induction chemotherapy. Fourteen children (56percnt) had skeletal muscle wasting during induction chemotherapy. All those children who had lost weight also had skeletal muscle wasting. Subcutaneous fat, in contrast increased in 24 cases (96percnt).


Malnutrition exists in a significant proportion of children with ALL. If induction chemotherapy is complicated, children lose significant weight and have significant muscle wasting. Increase in subcutaneous fat occurs in almost all children, which is probably a consequence of therapy with oral steroids

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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