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Rev Neurol. 2015 Feb 1;60(3):108-14.

[Neurological complications in the population of children with leukaemia].

[Article in Spanish; Abstract available in Spanish from the publisher]

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Hospital General Universitario Virgen de la Arrixaca, El Palmar, Espana.


in English, Spanish


Leukaemia is the most frequent type of cancer at the paediatric age. The cure rate is 80% with intensive chemotherapy, which improves survival but also often increases the frequency of adverse side effects, including those of a neurological nature.


To describe the frequency and characteristics of the neurological complications (NC) in patients with acute lymphoid leukaemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), as well as to identify factors associated to their presence, neurological morbidity and survival rate.


A retrospective study was conducted of the NC present in patients with ALL and AML between 1997 and 2012 treated and followed up by the child onco-haematology unit. The following variables were analysed: demographic data, oncological diagnosis, treatment and NC.


Altogether 157 patients were included, 145 without infiltration of the central nervous system at diagnosis and eight with infiltration (rate of NC of 14% and 12%, respectively). The most frequent NC were: neuropathies (31%), altered levels of consciousness (27%), convulsions (22%) and headache (12%). Forty per cent of the patients with NC presented sequelae but none of them died as a consequence of the NC. More NC were detected in the age group of children aged under 6 years with high-degree ALL, at higher levels of severity and in patients who had received a haematopoietic stem-cell transplant, all of them with statistically significant differences.


Neurological complications are common in patients with acute leukaemia, especially in those at a high-risk stage (above all if they are under the age of 6 years) and with haematopoietic stem-cell transplant. The associated mortality rate is low.

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