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J Clin Oncol. 1994 May;12(5):916-24.

Late effects of intensive treatment for acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplasia in childhood.

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Department of Haematology and Oncology, Hospitals for Sick Children, London, United Kingdom.



To perform a comprehensive assessment of the late effects of short-term intensive chemotherapy for childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplasia, and compare the sequelae of intensive chemotherapy alone with those of total-body irradiation (TBI).


Of 33 survivors studied, 26 (group A) received intensive chemotherapy including anthracyclines, one also received busulfan, cyclophosphamide (Bu/Cy), and bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Seven patients (group B) received chemotherapy, TBI, and BMT. Hearing, sight, growth, and endocrine, renal, and cardiac function were assessed.


The mean height standard deviation score of 25 nontransplanted group A patients was +0.67 at diagnosis, -0.11 following treatment (P = .016), and +0.34 7 years later (P > .05), indicating no long-term growth impairment. The patients had normal gonadal function and the girls had normal uterine size and ovarian volume. The Bu/Cy patient had primary ovarian failure. Four group B children required growth hormone and four sex steroids for growth or gonadal failure. The girls had reduced uterine size and ovarian volume. Three had thyroid dysfunction and six had cataracts. Abnormalities of renal function were found in both groups and hearing loss in group A only. The mean cardiac shortening fraction was significantly reduced at 29.2% in group A and 28.6% in group B compared with 36% in normal subjects. Two group A patients have developed cardiac failure.


Chemotherapy and TBI before BMT for AML has resulted in growth failure, gonadal and thyroid damage, and cataracts in most children, whereas chemotherapy alone caused cardiac, renal, and hearing abnormalities only.

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