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Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2019 Feb;66(2):e27515. doi: 10.1002/pbc.27515. Epub 2018 Oct 26.

Obesity in pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia increases the risk of adverse events during pre-maintenance chemotherapy.

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University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.



Obesity correlates with adverse events (AEs) in children with acute myelogenous leukemia and during maintenance therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Less is known about AEs in obese ALL patients during pre-maintenance chemotherapy. We evaluated the relationship between obesity (body mass index (BMI) ≥ 95th percentile) and AEs during pre-maintenance chemotherapy in pediatric patients with ALL.


One hundred fifty-five pediatric ALL patients diagnosed at a single institution between 2006 and 2012 were retrospectively evaluated for infections, treatment-requiring hypertension, insulin-requiring hyperglycemia, pancreatitis, pediatric intensive care unit admissions, sepsis, febrile neutropenia (FN) admissions, thrombosis, hepatotoxicity, and nephrotoxicity. Univariate and multivariable analyses compared proportions of obese versus nonobese patients experiencing AEs.


AEs occurring significantly more frequently in obese patients by univariate analysis included treatment-requiring hypertension (17.5% vs 6.1%; OR, 3.27; 95% CI, 1.1-10.0, P = 0.0497) and insulin-requiring hyperglycemia (25.0% vs 11.3%; OR, 2.62; 95% CI, 1.04-6.56, P = 0.04). Obese patients had greater incidence rates for recurrent admission-requiring infections (incidence rate ratio (IRR) 1.64; 95% CI, 1.08-2.48, P = 0.02) and recurrent FN admissions (IRR, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.10-2.12, P = 0.01). Accounting for combined age and NCI risk status, obesity was a risk factor for treatment-requiring hypertension (OR, 3.90; 95% CI, 1.19-12.76, P = 0.02), insulin-requiring hyperglycemia (OR, 3.92; 95% CI, 1.39-11.05, P = 0.01), and FN admission (OR, 2.92; 95% CI, 1.27-6.73, P = 0.01).


During pre-maintenance chemotherapy for ALL, obesity is a risk factor for the development of hypertension, hyperglycemia, and FN admissions. This research provides implications for augmented preventive and supportive care guidelines in obese ALL patients.


acute lymphoblastic leukemia; adverse events; obesity; pediatric

[Available on 2020-02-01]

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