Improved survival of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has diverted attention to the long-term consequences of the treatment; metabolic abnormalities being one of the most important issues.
Children diagnosed with ALL at age 14 years and younger at Regional Cancer Centre in South India who completed treatment and who were on follow-up for >2 years were enrolled in the study between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019. They were prospectively evaluated for the presence of metabolic syndrome (MS) and associated risk factors.
A total of 277 survivors of pediatric ALL were recruited during the study period. MS was present in 8.3% (n=23) and 6% (n=13) survivors by National Cholesterol Education Programme Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEPATP III) and International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria, respectively. The prevalence of overweight and obesity in the survivors was 9% and 13%. The prevalence of increased waist circumference, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, elevated fasting glucose, and increased blood pressure were 10.5%, 28.9%, 24.9%, 2.5%, and 9%, respectively. Overweight/obese survivors were at an increased risk for developing MS (odds ratio=17.66; 95% confidence interval=6.2-50.16, P=0.001). Survivors who received cranial radiotherapy were at an elevated risk for having low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P=0.001).
In our study, the prevalence of MS was higher in childhood ALL survivors, as compared with the general population. The study points to the need for regular screening of pediatric ALL survivors for early detection of MS, along with lifestyle modification in those with metabolic abnormalities, to curb the growing incidence of coronary artery disease.