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Leukemia. 2001 Jun;15(6):891-7.

Magnetic resonance imaging detection of avascular necrosis of the bone in children receiving intensive prednisone therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia or non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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Department of Hematology-Oncology, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, 332 N, Lauderdale, Memphis, TN 38105-2794, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency with which magnetic resonance (MR) imaging detects avascular necrosis of the bone (AVNB) in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or advanced-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) who receive prednisone during remission induction, reinduction, and maintenance chemotherapy; to assess the clinical significance of these findings; and to identify factors predictive of AVNB. We prospectively obtained MR imaging of the hips and knees of 116 children who had completed at least 1 year of treatment for ALL or advanced-stage NHL on identical prednisone-containing regimens between December 1991 and October 1994. MR imaging findings of AVNB were compared with clinical outcomes, and the effect of therapeutic and patient factors on the frequency of AVNB was analyzed. The MR imaging findings of 17 of the 116 participating patients were consistent with AVNB. The most common clinical manifestation was joint pain (11 patients). Only one patient had progressive joint deterioration that necessitated surgical replacement. Only age 10 years or more at the time of the primary diagnosis was significantly associated with the development of AVNB (P = 0.004). MR imaging showed changes consistent with AVNB in approximately 15% of this patient population. However, most patients in this study who had MR imaging signs of AVNB did not experience progressive joint destruction, even with continued prednisone therapy. Therefore, the clinical usefulness of MR imaging as a screening tool for AVNB in this set of patients remains uncertain.

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