Leukemia  (cancer of the blood)
[back] Chemotherapy

[Media UK, 1998] Leukaemia boy,11, dies after a final kiss from mother

That drugs may cause leukaemia and other cancers without first causing a blood disorder serious enough to be diagnosed has been touched upon in some books but it seems there is a hesitancy to discuss this problem. That a chemical can cause leukaemia and other cancers without first causing a diagnosed blood disorder is shown very clearly in the case of the chemical Lindane, an organochlorine pesticide. Blood disorders like aplastic anaemia, leukaemia and other cancers are very well documented to be caused by this chemical and compensation has been paid to victims. Letters we have from the Health and Safety Executive and answers we have from questions to Government experts in questions in Parliament all confirm that this is so. This is evidence again that all the drugs, chemicals and radiation that are documented to cause blood disorders are also capable of causing leukaemia and other cancers.  TOXIC OVERLOAD: BLOOD DISORDERS AND CANCERS RESULTING FROM EXPOSURE TO DRUGS, CHEMICALS AND RADIATION by Edward Priestley

It is estimated that there will be 28,700 new cases of leukemia in the United States this year (1999)...Some 21,600 persons will die from leukemia this year in the U.S http://www.leukemia.org/docs/leuk_rel/leukemia.html

The cause of leukemia is not known.

National Childhood Cancer society http://www.nccf.org/nccf/cancer/sndbites.html


80% of adult patients have one type of acute leukemia. 

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL/childhood leukemia/acute lymphoblastic leukemia)

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) will account for about 3,100 new cases of leukemia this year. It is the most common form of the disease in children, with 1,300 new cases among children each year (with) 1,300 deaths from acute lymphocytic leukemia. There will be approximately 550 deaths from childhood leukemia in 1998. http://www.leukemia.org/docs/leuk_rel/leukemia.html

The overall five-year survival rate for children with acute lymphocytic leukemia now is 80 percent. http://www.leukemia.org/docs/leuk_rel/leukemia.html

Drugs used: vincristine, prednisone, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, cytarabine


Di Mario FJ Jr 1990), Packer RJ Pediatrics 1990 Mar 85:3 353-60. Acute mental status changes in children with systemic cancer.
Acute changes in mental status (AMS) develop in children with cancer from a multitude of cancer- and treatment-related complications. To determine the incidence, etiology, and outcome of children with cancer who had AMS, the medical records of all children under 18 years of age with systemic cancer (excluding primary central nervous system tumors) who had AMS in our institution during the years 1981 through 1987 were reviewed. AMS developed in 89 of 815 children at risk (11%). The AMS was caused by seizures in 53 (60%), an encephalopathy in 24 (27%), and a stroke syndrome in 12 (13%). AMS occurred in 42 of 305 (14%) with leukemia, 16 of 139 (12%) with lymphoma, 14 of 136 (10%) with sarcoma, 10 of 104 (9%) with neuroblastoma, and 7 of 104 (5%) with other malignancies. Children with acute lymphocytic leukemia were more prone to having seizures (61%), while children with nonacute lymphocytic leukemia were almost equally likely to have encephalopathies, strokes, or seizures. Children with lymphoma were admitted for treatment most often with an encephalopathy (44%). Etiologies for AMS were evaluated vigorously, and one or more etiologies were identified in 80 of 89 (89%) patients. Dependent on the type of tumor, the anticancer treatment used and, timing during the course of illness AMS occurred, specific diagnoses were more likely. Neurologic morbidity and mortality were dependent on the cause of AMS. Children with seizures that were initially difficult to control were more likely to require long-term anticonvulsant therapy.

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

St Judes figures (40-50% 5 year survival?): Although approximately 80 to 90 percent of children with AML attain a complete remission (absence of leukemic cells), during initial phases of therapy, between 40 to 50 percent of children with AML achieve long-term remissions with chemotherapy.http://www.stjude.org/medical/aml.htm


Riley LC, et al Treatment-related deaths during induction and first remission of acute myeloid leukaemia in children treated on the Tenth Medical Research Council Acute Myeloid Leukaemia Trial (MRC AML10). Br J Haematol. 1999 Aug;106(2):436-444. [Record as supplied by publisher] PMID: 10460604.
Between 1988 and 1995, 341 children with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) were treated on the Medical Research Council Acute Myeloid Leukaemia Trial (MRC AML10). The 5-year overall survival was 57%, much improved on previous trials. However, there were 47 deaths (13.8%), 11 of which were associated with bone marrow transplantation (BMT). The treatment-related mortality was significant at 13.8%, but decreased in the latter half of the trial from 17.8% in 1998-91 to 9.6% in 1992-95 (P = 0.03%). The main causes of death were infection (65.9%), haemorrhage (19.1%) and cardiac failure (19.1%). Fungal infection was a significant problem, causing 23% of all infective deaths. Haemorrhage occurred early in treatment, in children with initial white cell counts >100 x 109/l (P = 0.001), and was more common in those with M4 and M5 morphology. Cardiac failure only occurred from the third course of chemotherapy onwards, with 78% (7/9) in conjunction with sepsis as a terminal event. Some deaths could be prevented by identifying those most at risk, and with prompt recognition and aggressive management of complications of treatment. Future options include the prophylactic use of antifungal agents, and the use of cardioprotectants or alternatives to conventional anthracyclines to decrease cardiac toxicity. PMID: 10460604 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Entrez/query?uid=10460604&form=6&db=m&Dopt=b

St Judes