Leukemia  (cancer of the blood)
[back] Chemotherapy

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

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.

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