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1.  In Vivo Response to Methotrexate Forecasts Outcome of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Has a Distinct Gene Expression Profile 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(4):e83.
Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common cancer in children, and can now be cured in approximately 80% of patients. Nevertheless, drug resistance is the major cause of treatment failure in children with ALL. The drug methotrexate (MTX), which is widely used to treat many human cancers, is used in essentially all treatment protocols worldwide for newly diagnosed ALL. Although MTX has been extensively studied for many years, relatively little is known about mechanisms of de novo resistance in primary cancer cells, including leukemia cells. This lack of knowledge is due in part to the fact that existing in vitro methods are not sufficiently reliable to permit assessment of MTX resistance in primary ALL cells. Therefore, we measured the in vivo antileukemic effects of MTX and identified genes whose expression differed significantly in patients with a good versus poor response to MTX.
Methods and Findings
We utilized measures of decreased circulating leukemia cells of 293 newly diagnosed children after initial “up-front” in vivo MTX treatment (1 g/m2) to elucidate interpatient differences in the antileukemic effects of MTX. To identify genomic determinants of these effects, we performed a genome-wide assessment of gene expression in primary ALL cells from 161 of these newly diagnosed children (1–18 y). We identified 48 genes and two cDNA clones whose expression was significantly related to the reduction of circulating leukemia cells after initial in vivo treatment with MTX. This finding was validated in an independent cohort of children with ALL. Furthermore, this measure of initial MTX in vivo response and the associated gene expression pattern were predictive of long-term disease-free survival (p < 0.001, p = 0.02).
Together, these data provide new insights into the genomic basis of MTX resistance and interpatient differences in MTX response, pointing to new strategies to overcome MTX resistance in childhood ALL.
Trial registrations: Total XV, Therapy for Newly Diagnosed Patients With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, (NCT00137111); Total XIIIBH, Phase III Randomized Study of Antimetabolite-Based Induction plus High-Dose MTX Consolidation for Newly Diagnosed Pediatric Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia at Intermediate or High Risk of Treatment Failure (NCI-T93-0101D); Total XIIIBL, Phase III Randomized Study of Antimetabolite-Based Induction plus High-Dose MTX Consolidation for Newly Diagnosed Pediatric Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia at Lower Risk of Treatment Failure (NCI-T93-0103D).
William Evans and colleagues investigate the genomic determinants of methotrexate resistance and interpatient differences in methotrexate response in patients newly diagnosed with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Editors' Summary
Every year about 10,000 children develop cancer in the US. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a rapidly progressing blood cancer, accounts for a quarter of these childhood cancers. Normally, cells in the bone marrow (the spongy material inside bones) develop into lymphocytes (white blood cells that fight infections), red blood cells (which carry oxygen round the body), platelets (which prevent excessive bleeding), and granulocytes (another type of white blood cell). However, in ALL, genetic changes in immature lymphocytes (lymphoblasts) mean that these cells divide uncontrollably and fail to mature. Eventually, the bone marrow fills up with these abnormal cells and can no longer make healthy blood cells. As a result, children with ALL cannot fight infections. They also bruise and bleed easily and, because they do not have enough red blood cells, they often complain of tiredness and weakness. With modern chemotherapy protocols (combinations of drugs that kill the fast-dividing cancer cells but leave the normal, nondividing cells in the body largely unscathed), more than 80% of children with ALL live for at least 5 years.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although this survival rate is good, some patients still die because their cancer cells are resistant to one or more chemotherapy drugs. For some drugs, the genetic characteristics of the ALL cells that make them resistant are known. Unfortunately, little is known about why some ALL cells are resistant to methotrexate, a component of most treatment protocols for newly diagnosed ALL. Methotrexate kills dividing cells by interfering with DNA synthesis and repair. Cancer cells can be resistant to methotrexate for many reasons—they may have acquired genetic changes that stop the drug from entering them, for example. These resistance mechanisms need to be understood better before new strategies can be developed for the treatment of methotrexate-resistant ALL. In this study, the researchers have determined the response of newly diagnosed patients to methotrexate and have investigated the gene expression patterns in ALL cells that correlate with good and bad responses to methotrexate.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers measured the reduction in circulating leukemia cells that followed the first treatment with methotrexate of nearly 300 patients with newly diagnosed ALL. They also used “microarray” analysis to investigate the gene expression patterns in lymphoblast samples taken from the bone marrow of 161 patients before treatment. They found that the expression of 50 genes was significantly related to the reduction in circulating leukemia cells after methotrexate treatment (a result confirmed in an independent group of patients). Of these genes, the expression of 29 was higher in patients who responded poorly to methotrexate than in patients who responded well. A “global analysis test,” which examined the gene expression profile of different cellular pathways in relation to the methotrexate response, found a significant association between the nucleotide biosynthesis pathway (which is needed for DNA synthesis and cellular proliferation) and the methotrexate response. Finally, patients with the best methotrexate response and the 50-gene expression profile indicative of a good response were more likely to be alive after 5 years than patients with the worst methotrexate response and the poor-response gene expression profile.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide important new insights into the genetic basis of methotrexate resistance in newly diagnosed childhood ALL and begin to explain why some patients fail to respond to this drug. They also show that the reduction in circulating leukemic cells shortly after the first methotrexate dose and a specific gene expression profile both predict the long-term survival of patients. These findings also suggest new ways to modulate sensitivity to methotrexate. Down-regulation of the expression of the genes that are expressed more highly in poor responders than in good responders might improve patient responses to methotrexate. Alternatively, it might be possible to find ways to increase the expression of the genes that are underexpressed in methotrexate poor responders and so improve the outlook for at least some of the children with ALL who fail to respond to current chemotherapy protocols.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
• The US National Cancer Institute provides a fact sheet for patients and caregivers about ALL in children and information about its treatment(in English and Spanish)
• The UK charity Cancerbackup provides information for patients and caregivers on ALL in children and on methotrexate
• The US Leukemia and Lymphoma Society also provides information for patients and caregivers about ALL
• The Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (a UK charity) provides information for children with cancer and their families
• MedlinePlus provides additional information about methotrexate (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC2292747  PMID: 18416598
2.  Neurocognitive Outcomes Decades After Treatment for Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: A Report From the St Jude Lifetime Cohort Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2013;31(35):4407-4415.
To determine rates, patterns, and predictors of neurocognitive impairment in adults decades after treatment for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Patients and Methods
Survivors of childhood ALL treated at St Jude Children's Research Hospital who were still alive at 10 or more years after diagnosis and were age ≥ 18 years were recruited for neurocognitive testing. In all, 1,014 survivors were eligible, 738 (72.8%) agreed to participate, and 567 (76.8%) of these were evaluated. Mean age was 33 years; mean time since diagnosis was 26 years. Medical record abstraction was performed for data on doses of cranial radiation therapy (CRT) and cumulative chemotherapy. Multivariable modeling was conducted and glmulti package was used to select the best model with minimum Akaike information criterion.
Impairment rates across neurocognitive domains ranged from 28.6% to 58.9%, and those treated with chemotherapy only demonstrated increased impairment in all domains (all P values < .006). In survivors who received no CRT, dexamethasone was associated with impaired attention (relative risk [RR], 2.12; 95% CI, 1.11 to 4.03) and executive function (RR, 2.42; 95% CI, 1.20 to 4.91). The impact of CRT was dependent on young age at diagnosis for intelligence, academic, and memory functions. Risk for executive function problems increased with survival time in a CRT dose-dependent fashion. In all survivors, self-reported behavior problems increased by 5% (RR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.09) with each year from diagnosis. Impairment was associated with reduced educational attainment and unemployment.
This study demonstrates persistent and significant neurocognitive impairment in adult survivors of childhood ALL and warrants ongoing monitoring of brain health to facilitate successful adult development and to detect early onset of decline as survivors mature.
PMCID: PMC3842908  PMID: 24190124
3.  Comparison of intelligence quotient in children surviving leukemia who received different prophylactic central nervous system treatments 
Neurocognitive deficits and decrease in intelligence quotient (IQ) is one of the complication of prophylactic central nervous system (CNS) treatment in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients. In this study, we compare the IQ in survivors of ALL that were treated with different prophylactic CNS treatments.
Materials and Methods:
We compared 43 long-term survivors of ALL: 21 survivors with intrathecal methotrexate (IT MTX) as CNS prophylaxis, 22 with IT MTX+1800-2400 rads cranial irradiation and 20 healthy controls. The IQ was measured using the Raven's test in these patients.
Raven's test revealed significant differences in IQ between the survivors of ALL that were treated with IT MTX, IT MTX plus cranial irradiation and control group. There was no significant difference in the IQ with respect to sex, age and irradiation dose.
We can that reveal that CNS prophylaxis treatment, especially the combined treatment, is associated with IQ score decline in ALL survivors. Therefore,a baseline and an annual assessment of their educational progress are suggested.
PMCID: PMC3544107  PMID: 23326813
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia; chemotherapy; intelligence quotient; radiotherapy
4.  Risk factors for intellectual and educational sequelae of cranial irradiation in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. 
British Journal of Cancer  1996;73(6):825-830.
Long-term cognitive and educational sequelae have been inconsistently reported in children who received cranial irradiation (CRT) to prevent central nervous system (CNS) disease in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). This study investigates a large and representative sample of survivors of ALL and compares them with non-irradiated survivors of cancer and healthy control children to determine the effect of CRT on cognitive and educational ability. Three groups of children were studied: Group 1 (n=100) survivors of ALL treated with chemotherapy and CRT, group 2 (n=50) children with a variety of malignancies treated with chemotherapy alone, group 3(n=100) healthy children. Cognitive and educational abilities of these groups were evaluated using standardised psychometric techniques. Significant differences in cognitive and educational abilities were found between the children in group 1 (chemotherapy + CRT) and the two control groups, with the children receiving CRT performing less well in a range of tests. Greatest differences were detected for tasks dependent on language function including verbal IQ, reading and spelling. Within group 1 a younger age at treatment (less than 5 years) and a higher dose of CRT (24 Gy vs 18 Gy) were predictive of poor long-term outcome for cognitive and education ability. In contrast, children who received chemotherapy alone, with or without intrathecal methotrexate, performed similarly to healthy controls. No gender differences were detected for these measures.
PMCID: PMC2074370  PMID: 8611389
5.  Reduced Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Adult Survivors of Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2013;60(8):10.1002/pbc.24492.
Adult survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are at increased cardiovascular risk. Studies of factors including treatment exposures that may modify risk of low cardiorespiratory fitness in this population have been limited.
To assess cardiorespiratory fitness, maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) was measured in 115 ALL survivors (median age, 23.5 years; range 18–37). We compared VO2max measurements for ALL survivors to those estimated from submaximal testing in a frequency-matched (age, gender, race/ethnicity) 2003–2004 National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) cohort. Multivariable linear regression models were constructed to evaluate the association between therapeutic exposures and outcomes of interest.
Compared to NHANES participants, ALL survivors had a substantially lower VO2max (mean 30.7 vs 39.9 ml/kg/min; adjusted P<0.0001). For any given percent total body fat, ALL survivors had an 8.9 ml/kg/min lower VO2max than NHANES participants. For key treatment exposure groups (cranial radiotherapy [CRT], anthracycline chemotherapy, or neither), ALL survivors had substantially lower VO2max compared with NHANES participants (all comparisons, P<0.001). Almost two-thirds (66.7%) of ALL survivors were classified as low cardiorespiratory fitness compared with 26.3% of NHANES participants (adjusted P<0.0001). In multivariable models including only ALL survivors, treatment exposures were modestly associated with VO2max. Among females, CRT was associated with low VO2max (P=0.02), but anthracycline exposure was not (P=0.58). In contrast, among males, anthracycline exposure ≥100 mg/m2 was associated with low VO2max (P=0.03), but CRT was not (P=0.54).
Adult survivors of childhood ALL have substantially lower levels of cardiorespiratory fitness compared with a similarly aged non-cancer population.
PMCID: PMC3725590  PMID: 23418044
childhood cancer; acute lymphoblastic leukemia; survivor; cardiorespiratory fitness
6.  Neuromuscular impairments in adult survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia: associations with physical performance and chemotherapy doses 
Cancer  2011;118(3):828-838.
Treatment regimens for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) contain neurotoxic agents that may interfere with neuromuscular health. This study examined associations between neuromuscular impairments and physical function, and between neuromuscular impairments, and doses of vincristine and intrathecal methotrexate used to treat leukemia among survivors of childhood ALL.
ALL survivors 10+ years from diagnosis participated in neuromuscular performance testing. Treatment data were abstracted from medical records. Regression models were used to evaluate associations between treatment factors, neuromuscular impairments and physical performance.
Among 415 survivors (median age 35 years; range 21–52), balance, mobility and six-minute walk (6MW) distances were 1.3 standard deviations below age- and sex-specific values in 15.4%, 3.6% and 46.5% of participants, respectively. Impairments included absent Achilles tendon reflexes (39.5%), active dorsiflexion range of motion (ROM) < 5 degrees (33.5%) and impaired knee extension strength (30.1%). In adjusted models (including cranial radiation), survivors treated with intrathecal methotrexate cumulative doses 215+ mg/m2 were 3.4 (95% CI 1.2–9.8) times more likely than survivors who received no intrathecal methotrexate, and those who received vincristine cumulative doses 39+ mg/m2 1.5 (95% CI 1.0–2.5) times more likely than those who received lower doses to have impaired ROM. Higher intrathecal methotrexate doses were associated with reduced knee extension strength and 6MW distances.
Neuromuscular impairments are prevalent in childhood ALL survivors and interfere with physical performance. Higher cumulative doses of vincristine and/or intrathecal methotrexate are associated with long-term neuromuscular impairments, which have implications on future function as these survivors age.
PMCID: PMC3197897  PMID: 21766297
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia; Survivor; Neuromuscular impairment; Function; Physical performance; Intrathecal methotrexate; Vincristine; Late effect
7.  Neurologic morbidity and quality of life in survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a prospective cross-sectional study 
Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is treated with potentially neurotoxic drugs and neurologic complications in long-term survivors are inadequately studied. This study investigated neurologic morbidity and its effect on quality of life in long-term survivors of childhood ALL.
Prospective, single institution, cross-sectional, institutional review board-approved study of long-term ALL survivors. Participants were recruited from institutional clinics. Participants answered an investigator-administered questionnaire followed by evaluation by a neurologist. Quality of life (QOL) was also assessed.
Of the 162 participants recruited over a 3-year period, 83.3 % reported at least one neurologic symptom of interest, 16.7 % had single symptom, 11.1 % had two symptoms, and 55.6 % had three or more symptoms. Symptoms were mild and disability was low in the majority of participants with neurologic symptoms. Median age at ALL diagnosis was 3.9 years (0.4–18.6), median age at study enrollment was 15.7 years (6.9–28.9), and median time from completion of ALL therapy was 7.4 years (1.9–20.3). On multivariable analyses, female sex correlated with presence of dizziness, urinary incontinence, constipation, and neuropathy; use of≥10 doses of triple intrathecal chemotherapy correlated with uri-nary incontinence, back pain, and neuropathy; cranial radiation with ataxia; history of ALL relapse with fatigue; and CNS leukemia at diagnosis with seizures. Decline in mental QOL was associated with migraine and tension type headaches, while physical QOL was impaired by presence of dizziness and falls. Overall, good QOL and physical function was maintained by a majority of participants.
Neurologic symptoms were present in 83 % long-term ALL survivors. Symptoms related morbidity and QOL impairment is low in majority of survivors. Female sex, ≥10 doses of intrathecal chemotherapy, and history of ALL relapse predispose to impaired QOL.
Implications for Cancer Survivors
This study will educate survivors and their care providers regarding cancer or treatment-related neurologic symptoms and morbidity. This study will help them understand factors contributing to impaired QOL when present.
PMCID: PMC4221551  PMID: 25008582
Childhood; Acute lymphoblastic leukemia; Neurologic outcome; Quality of life
8.  Adverse Impact of Mood on Flow-Mediated Dilation 
Psychosomatic Medicine  2010;72(2):122-127.
To examine the impact of mood states on endothelial function, as measured noninvasively by brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD). Substantial literature indicates that negative mood is linked to cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the mechanisms underlying this relationship are not well defined. CVD is often preceded by dysfunction of the endothelium.
Healthy adults (n = 70; mean age, 36 years) completed the Profile of Mood States (POMS), which contains six subscales (depression/dejection; tension/anxiety; anger/hostility; confusion/bewilderment; fatigue/inertia; vigor/activity) that are used to compute a total mood disturbance score for overall psychological distress. FMD was calculated (maximum percentage change in brachial artery diameter) from ultrasound assessment of arterial diameter at baseline and for 10 minutes after occlusion.
Regressions showed that increases in POMS total mood disturbance scores were associated with decreases in endothelial function. Mood disturbance explained 10% of the variance in FMD (p < .01), after controlling for age, sex, mean arterial pressure, body mass index, and socially desirable response bias. An exploratory set of separate regressions conducted to decompose the link between FMD and total mood disturbance revealed that the following POMS subscales were inversely correlated with FMD: depression/dejection, tension/anxiety, anger/hostility, fatigue/inertia (p’s < .05), and confusion/bewilderment (p < .01).
Mood disturbance could contribute to CVD via impaired vasodilation. These preliminary results show that even mild levels of adverse psychological states, particularly depressed, anxious, angry, confused, and fatigued states, might be linked to increased cardiovascular risk.
PMCID: PMC3163844  PMID: 20100885
endothelial function; vasodilation; mood; depression; anxiety; fatigue
9.  How are spousal depressed mood, distress and quality of life associated with risk of depressed mood in cancer survivors? Longitudinal findings from a national sample 
Spouses of cancer survivors experience both positive and negative effects from caregiving. However, it is less clear what role spousal well-being may have on cancer survivors. This study aimed to determine the impact of spousal psychosocial factors on survivor depressed mood and whether this association differed by gender.
We examined longitudinal data on cancer survivors and their spouses (n=910 dyads) from the 2004-2012 Medical Expenditures Panel Survey and a matched sample of cancer-free dyads. Subjects reported depressed mood, psychological distress, and mental and physical health-related quality of life (HRQoL) at two time points (T1/T2). Dyadic multilevel models evaluated the impact of psychosocial factors at T1 on depressed mood at T2, controlling for sociodemographics, cancer type, survivor treatment status, and depressed mood at T1.
Cancer survivors whose spouses reported depressed mood at T1 were 4.27 times more likely to report depressed mood at T2 (95% CI=2.01-9.07); this was stronger for female survivors (OR=9.49; 95% CI=2.42-37.20). Better spousal mental and physical HRQoL at T1 were associated with a 30% decrease in survivor depressed mood risk at T2. Most spillover effects were not observed in comparison dyads.
Depressed mood and poor HRQoL in spouses may increase the risk of depressed mood in cancer survivors. The risk may be especially strong for female survivors.
Identifying and improving spousal mental health and HRQoL problems may reduce the risk of depressed mood in cancer survivors. Future research should examine whether incorporating spousal care into psycho-oncology and survivorship programs improves survivor outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4453017  PMID: 26033755
dyad; dyadic; actor-partner interdependence model; caregiver; survivor; cancer; depression; MEPS
10.  Incidental Detection of Late Subsequent Intracranial Neoplasms with Magnetic Resonance Imaging Among Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancer 
Survivors of childhood cancer are at increased risk of developing subsequent neoplasms. In long term survivors of childhood malignancies treated with and without cranial radiation therapy (CRT), undergoing unenhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain, we estimated detection of intracranial neoplasms.
To investigate neurocognitive outcomes, 219 survivors of childhood cancer underwent unenhanced screening MRI of the brain. 164 of the survivors had been treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) (125 received CRT), and 55 for Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) (none received CRT). MRI examinations were reviewed and systematically coded by a single neuroradiologist. Demographic and treatment characteristics were compared for survivors with and without subsequent neoplasms.
Nineteen of the 219 survivors (8.7%) had a total of 31 subsequent intracranial neoplasms identified by neuroimaging at a median time of 25 years (range 12-46 years) from diagnosis. All neoplasms occurred after CRT, except for a single vestibular schwannoma within the cervical radiation field in a HL survivor. The prevalence of subsequent neoplasms after CRT exposure was 14.4% (18 of 125). By noncontrast MRI, intracranial neoplasms were most suggestive of meningiomas. Most patients presented with no specific, localizing neurological complaints. In addition to the schwannoma, six tumors were resected based on results of MRI screening, all of which were meningiomas on histologic review.
Unenhanced brain MRI of long-term survivors of childhood cancer detected a substantial number of intracranial neoplasms. Screening for early detection of intracranial neoplasms among aging survivors of childhood cancer who received CRT should be evaluated.
Implications for Cancer Survivors
The high prevalence of incidentally detected subsequent intracranial neoplasms after CRT in long-term survivors of childhood cancer and the minimal symptoms reported by those with intracranial tumors in our study indicate that brain MRI screening of long-term survivors who received CRT may be warranted. Prospective studies of such screening are needed.
PMCID: PMC4119575  PMID: 24488818
Survivors of Childhood Cancer; Cranial Radiation Therapy; Subsequent Intracranial Neoplasms; Meningiomas
11.  Distinct health behavior and psychosocial profiles of young adult survivors of childhood cancers: a mixed methods study 
We used a mixed-methods approach to examine health behavior profiles of young adult cancer survivors and characterize related sociodemographic and psychosocial factors.
We conducted a mail-based survey assessing sociodemographics, cancer treatment, health behaviors (e.g., tobacco use, physical activity), healthcare provider interactions, and psychosocial factors (e.g., Profile of Moods States [POMS]) among 106 young adult survivors from a southeastern cancer center and semi-structured interviews among a subset of 26.
A k-means cluster analysis using eight health behaviors yielded three distinct health behavior profiles: high risk (n = 25), moderate risk (n = 39), and low risk (n = 40). High risks had the highest current alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use; physical activity; and number of sexual partners (p’s < 0.001). They had higher symptoms of POMS tension-anxiety, depression-dejection, fatigue-inertia, and confusion-bewilderment (p’s < 0.05). Moderate risks had lowest physical activity (p < 0.05) but otherwise had moderate health behaviors. Low risks had the lowest alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use and fewest sexual partners (p’s < 0.05). They had the lowest levels of tension-anxiety, depression-dejection, fatigue-inertia, and confusion-bewilderment (p’s < 0.05). Qualitative interviews showed that cancer had a range of effects on health behaviors and variable experiences regarding how healthcare providers address these behaviors.
Assessing health behavior profiles, rather than individual health behaviors, is informative in characterizing young adult cancer survivors and targeting survivorship care.
Implications for Cancer Survivors
Young adult cancer survivors demonstrate distinct health behavior profiles and are differentially impacted by the experience of cancer. Healthcare providers should be consistently intervening to ensure that survivors understand their specific health risks.
PMCID: PMC4915965  PMID: 26688575
Health behaviors; Young adults; Childhood cancer; Cancer survivorship
12.  Neurocognitive Status in Long-Term Survivors of Childhood CNS Malignancies: A Report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study 
Neuropsychology  2009;23(6):705-717.
Among survivors of childhood cancer, those with Central Nervous System (CNS) malignancies have been found to be at greatest risk for neuropsychological dysfunction in the first few years following diagnosis and treatment. This study follows survivors to adulthood to assess the long term impact of childhood CNS malignancy and its treatment on neurocognitive functioning.
Participants & Methods
As part of the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), 802 survivors of childhood CNS malignancy, 5937 survivors of non-CNS malignancy and 382 siblings without cancer completed a 25 item Neurocognitive Questionnaire (CCSS-NCQ) at least 16 years post cancer diagnosis assessing task efficiency, emotional regulation, organizational skills and memory. Neurocognitive functioning in survivors of CNS malignancy was compared to that of non-CNS malignancy survivors and a sibling cohort. Within the group of CNS malignancy survivors, multiple linear regression was used to assess the contribution of demographic, illness and treatment variables to reported neurocognitive functioning and the relationship of reported neurocognitive functioning to educational, employment and income status.
Survivors of CNS malignancy reported significantly greater neurocognitive impairment on all factors assessed by the CCSS-NCQ than non-CNS cancer survivors or siblings (p<.01), with mean T scores of CNS malignancy survivors substantially more impaired that those of the sibling cohort (p<.001), with a large effect size for Task Efficiency (1.16) and a medium effect size for Memory (.68). Within the CNS malignancy group, medical complications, including hearing deficits, paralysis and cerebrovascular incidents resulted in a greater likelihood of reported deficits on all of the CCSS-NCQ factors, with generally small effect sizes (.22-.50). Total brain irradiation predicted greater impairment on Task Efficiency and Memory (Effect sizes: .65 and .63, respectively), as did partial brain irradiation, with smaller effect sizes (.49 and .43, respectively). Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement was associated with small deficits on the same scales (Effect sizes: Task Efficiency .26, Memory .32). Female gender predicted a greater likelihood of impaired scores on 2 scales, with small effect sizes (Task Efficiency .38, Emotional Regulation .45), while diagnosis before age 2 years resulted in less likelihood of reported impairment on the Memory factor with a moderate effect size (.64). CNS malignancy survivors with more impaired CCSS-NCQ scores demonstrated significantly lower educational attainment (p<.01), less household income (p<.001) and less full time employment (p<.001).
Survivors of childhood CNS malignancy are at significant risk for impairment in neurocognitive functioning in adulthood, particularly if they have received cranial radiation, had a VP shunt placed, suffered a cerebrovascular incident or are left with hearing or motor impairments. Reported neurocognitive impairment adversely affected important adult outcomes, including education, employment, income and marital status.
PMCID: PMC2796110  PMID: 19899829
Neurocognitive functioning; brain tumors; CNS malignancies; Childhood Cancer Survivor Study
13.  Developing Interventions for Cancer-Related Cognitive Dysfunction in Childhood Cancer Survivors 
Survivors of childhood cancer frequently experience cancer-related cognitive dysfunction, commonly months to years after treatment for pediatric brain tumors, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), or tumors involving the head and neck. Risk factors for cancer-related cognitive dysfunction include young age at diagnosis, treatment with cranial irradiation, use of parenteral or intrathecal methotrexate, female sex, and pre-existing comorbidities. Limiting use and reducing doses and volume of cranial irradiation while intensifying chemotherapy have improved survival and reduced the severity of cognitive dysfunction, especially in leukemia. Nonetheless, problems in core functional domains of attention, processing speed, working memory and visual-motor integration continue to compromise quality of life and performance. We review the epidemiology, pathophysiology and assessment of cancer-related cognitive dysfunction, the impact of treatment changes for prevention, and the broad strategies for educational and pharmacological interventions to remediate established cognitive dysfunction following childhood cancer. The increased years of life saved after childhood cancer warrants continued study toward the prevention and remediation of cancer-related cognitive dysfunction, using uniform assessments anchored in functional outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4155432  PMID: 25080574
Neuro-Oncology  2014;16(Suppl 5):v178.
The ambiguity of defining hope impacts the level of readiness faced by healthcare professionals in treating patients with glioma, a disease with an unpredictable outcome. While the initial focus of care is on the physiological effects of the disease, a sense of hope has been demonstrated to positively impact coping during illness in other cancer patients. This study describes the report of hope and the relationship between hope and mood in adult brain tumor patients at various points in the illness trajectory. This was a cross-sectional study with data collection including the use of the Herth Hope Index (HHI) within 3 subscales (temporality, readiness, interconnectedness), the Profile of Mood States-Short Form (POMS-SF) and clinical information. Descriptive statistics were used to report sample characteristics. Spearman's rho compared POMS-SF and HHI scores. 82 patients participated in the study ranging in age from 22 to 78 years (mean 44.78). Patients were primarily male (57.3%), married (76.8%) and employed (51.2%). The majority of patients had a high grade glioma (77%), with nearly half having a recurrence and over 20% on active treatment at the time of this study. The overall HHI total score for the sample was 41.32(range 13-48). Patients with recurrence had a low HHI interconnectedness (median = 14.00) score and higher total mood disturbance (median = 14.00) compared with patients without recurrence (HHI median = 15.00, Mood median = .00, p < .05). All negative mood states on the POMS-SF were negatively correlated with HHI subscales. Overall, patients reporting more hope also reported less overall mood disturbance (tension, anger, fatigue, depression, confusion). Patients with tumor recurrence reported lower hope and higher mood disturbance then those who were newly diagnosed or without recurrence. Targeting interventions specifically tailored to individual needs in improvement of quality of life throughout the disease course may include measures to address hope to facilitate positive coping strategies.
PMCID: PMC4218504
15.  Effects of Hormone Therapy on Cognition and Mood in Recently Postmenopausal Women: Findings from the Randomized, Controlled KEEPS–Cognitive and Affective Study 
PLoS Medicine  2015;12(6):e1001833.
Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) reportedly increases the risk of cognitive decline in women over age 65 y. It is unknown whether similar risks exist for recently postmenopausal women, and whether MHT affects mood in younger women. The ancillary Cognitive and Affective Study (KEEPS-Cog) of the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study (KEEPS) examined the effects of up to 4 y of MHT on cognition and mood in recently postmenopausal women.
Methods and Findings
KEEPS, a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial, was conducted at nine US academic centers. Of the 727 women enrolled in KEEPS, 693 (95.3%) participated in the ancillary KEEPS-Cog, with 220 women randomized to receive 4 y of 0.45 mg/d oral conjugated equine estrogens (o-CEE) plus 200 mg/d micronized progesterone (m-P) for the first 12 d of each month, 211 women randomized to receive 50 μg/d transdermal estradiol (t-E2) plus 200 mg/d m-P for the first 12 d of each month, and 262 women randomized to receive placebo pills and patches. Primary outcomes included the Modified Mini-Mental State examination; four cognitive factors: verbal learning/memory, auditory attention/working memory, visual attention/executive function, and speeded language/mental flexibility; and a mood measure, the Profile of Mood States (POMS). MHT effects were analyzed using linear mixed-effects (LME) models, which make full use of all available data from each participant, including those with missing data. Data from those with and without full data were compared to assess for potential biases resulting from missing observations. For statistically significant results, we calculated effect sizes (ESs) to evaluate the magnitude of changes.
On average, participants were 52.6 y old, and 1.4 y past their last menstrual period. By month 48, 169 (24.4%) and 158 (22.8%) of the 693 women who consented for ancillary KEEPS-Cog were lost to follow-up for cognitive assessment (3MS and cognitive factors) and mood evaluations (POMS), respectively. However, because LME models make full use all available data, including data from women with missing data, 95.5% of participants were included in the final analysis (n = 662 in cognitive analyses, and n = 661 in mood analyses). To be included in analyses, women must have provided baseline data, and data from at least one post-baseline visit. The mean length of follow-up was 2.85 y (standard deviation [SD] = 0.49) for cognitive outcomes and 2.76 (SD = 0.57) for mood outcomes. No treatment-related benefits were found on cognitive outcomes. For mood, model estimates indicated that women treated with o-CEE showed improvements in depression and anxiety symptoms over the 48 mo of treatment, compared to women on placebo. The model estimate for the depression subscale was −5.36 × 10−2 (95% CI, −8.27 × 10−2 to −2.44 × 10−2; ES = 0.49, p < 0.001) and for the anxiety subscale was −3.01 × 10−2 (95% CI, −5.09 × 10−2 to −9.34 × 10−3; ES = 0.26, p < 0.001). Mood outcomes for women randomized to t-E2 were similar to those for women on placebo. Importantly, the KEEPS-Cog results cannot be extrapolated to treatment longer than 4 y.
The KEEPS-Cog findings suggest that for recently postmenopausal women, MHT did not alter cognition as hypothesized. However, beneficial mood effects with small to medium ESs were noted with 4 y of o-CEE, but not with 4 y of t-E2. The generalizability of these findings is limited to recently postmenopausal women with low cardiovascular risk profiles.
Trial Registration NCT00154180 and NCT00623311
In a randomized, controlled trial, Carey Gleason and colleagues examine the effects of hormone therapies on cognitive and mood outcomes in recently postmenopausal women.
Editors' Summary
Menopause (“change of life”)—the time in a woman’s life when her menstrual periods stop—is a normal part of aging and usually occurs around the age of 50. In the years before menopause (the menopausal transition or perimenopause), the levels of estrogen and progesterone—sex hormones produced by the ovaries that prepare the woman’s body every month for a possible pregnancy—go up and down irregularly. This variation in hormone levels changes the frequency and characteristics of a woman’s periods but can also cause hot flashes (feeling hot on and off during the day), night sweats, vaginal dryness, bone thinning, and mood swings. Some women sail through menopause without experiencing any of these symptoms, but for other women menopausal symptoms, which can continue for several years after menopause, can be debilitating. For these women, menopausal hormone therapy (MHT, previously known as hormone replacement therapy, or HRT)—treatment with various combinations and types of estrogen and progesterone—can be prescribed during or after the menopausal transition to manage their troublesome symptoms.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although MHT has helped many women deal with their menopausal symptoms, it can increase a woman’s risk of heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. There is also some evidence that MHT increases the risk of cognitive decline (decline in thinking, language, memory, understanding, and judgment) and dementia in women who start taking MHT after the age of 65. However, other evidence suggests that MHT might enhance cognition and mood if it is given at menopause rather than later. In this randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial (the KEEPS-Cog trial, an ancillary study of the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study, which examined the effect of MHT on cardiovascular health), the researchers investigate the effects of up to four years of MHT on cognition and mood in recently postmenopausal women living in the US. A randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial compares the outcomes of participants assigned an active intervention or a placebo (dummy) intervention through the play of chance; in a double-blinded trial, neither the researchers nor the participants know who is receiving which treatment until the trial ends.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In the KEEPS-Cog trial, 220 healthy recently postmenopausal women took an estrogen pill every day and a progesterone pill for the first 12 days of each month, 211 women wore an estradiol patch (transdermal estradiol) and took a progesterone pill for the first 12 days of each month, and 262 women received placebo patches and pills for up to four years (the average follow-up was a little less than three years). The researchers assessed the trial participants for their overall cognitive health using an instrument called the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination, for four specific cognitive functions using several established instruments, for depression symptoms using the Beck Depression Inventory, and for mood using the Profile of Mood States instrument at baseline and at 18, 36, and 48 months. Statistical analysis of the data collected indicates that, during the trial, there were no treatment-related effects on cognition or depression symptoms. However, women treated with estrogen pills and progesterone (but not those treated with estradiol patches and progesterone) showed improvements in some mood symptoms compared to women in the placebo group.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Before starting their trial, the researchers hypothesized that, because the body handles different formulations and types of estrogen in different ways, transdermal estradiol but not oral estrogen would improve cognition and mood in recently postmenopausal women when compared to placebo. Notably, the findings suggest that MHT does not alter cognition as hypothesized and that oral rather than transdermal estrogen has a small to moderate beneficial effect on mood. Importantly, these findings provide no information about the effects of MHT beyond four years and, because most of the women in the study were white, well-educated, and at low risk of cardiovascular disease, may not be applicable to the general postmenopausal population of the US and of other countries. Moreover, because MHT improved menopausal symptoms in the women receiving hormones, the trial was not truly double-blinded. However, despite these and other study limitations, the researchers suggest that their findings could now be used to help women make more informed decisions about whether to use MHT to manage their menopausal symptoms.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Institute on Aging provides detailed information for women about menopause (in English and Spanish) and about hormones and menopause
The UK National Health Service Choices website also provides detailed information about menopause and about menopausal hormone therapy, including some personal stories
The US Food and Drug Administration provides answers to common questions about menopause and hormones (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources and advice about menopause and about menopausal hormone therapy (in English and Spanish)
More information about the KEEPS-Cog trial is available
PMCID: PMC4452757  PMID: 26035291
16.  Fit4Life: A Weight Loss Intervention for Children who have survived Childhood Leukemia 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2014;61(5):894-900.
Children surviving acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are at increased risk for overweight and obesity over that of the general population. Whether a generic or tailored approach to weight management is needed for cancer survivors has yet to be tested.
Thirty-eight youth 8–18 years with BMI≥85% who had survived ALL were recruited for a randomized clinical trial evaluating a weight management intervention (WMI) tailored for childhood ALL survivors (Fit4Life). Fit4Life recipients received a 4-month web, phone, and text message-delivered WMI tailored for cancer survivorship. Controls received a general WMI delivered via phone and mail. Assessments were performed at baseline and 4 months. Outcome data were analyzed according to assigned treatment condition over time.
Most (80% (70%,100%) [median (IQR)]) of the assigned curriculum was received by Fit4Life participants as compared to 50% (40%,65%) among controls. Fit4Life recipients ≥14 years demonstrated less weight gain (p=0.05) and increased moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (p<0.01) while all Fit4Life recipients reported reduced negative mood (p<0.05) over time as compared to control counterparts.
We demonstrated acceptable feasibility of a WMI tailored for overweight and obese children surviving ALL utilizing a multimodal technology approach. Improved weight, weight-related behavior, and psychological outcomes were demonstrated among Fit4Life intervention as compared to youth receiving a generic WMI. Data from this pilot trial may be used to design a larger trial to determine whether youth of all ages also can derive a benefit from a cancer-survivor tailored WMI and whether short-term outcomes translate into improved long-term outcomes for childhood ALL survivors.
PMCID: PMC3997743  PMID: 24436138
Leukemia; Weight Management; Childhood Cancer; Survivorship
17.  Radiation, Atherosclerotic Risk Factors and Stroke Risk in Survivors of Pediatric Cancer: a Report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study 
The impact of childhood cranial radiation therapy (CRT) on stroke risk in adulthood, and the role of modifiable atherosclerotic risk factors, remains poorly defined. We assessed long-term incidence rates and stroke risk factors in survivors of childhood cancer followed by the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS).
Patients and Methods
CCSS is a multi-institutional retrospective cohort study of 14,358 five-year survivors of childhood cancer and 4,023 randomly selected sibling controls with longitudinal follow up. Age-adjusted incidence rates of self-reported late-occurring (≥ 5 years after diagnosis) first-stroke were calculated. Multivariable Cox Proportional Hazards models were used to identify independent stroke predictors.
During a mean follow-up of 23.3 years, 292 survivors reported a late-occurring stroke. The age-adjusted stroke rate per 100,000 person-years was 77 (95% Confidence Interval [CI] 62–96) compared to 9.3 (95% CI 4–23) for siblings. Treatment with CRT increased stroke risk in a dose dependent manner: hazard ratio (HR) 5.9 (95% CI 3.5–9.9) for 30–49 Gy CRT, and 11.0 (7.4–17.0) for 50+ Gy CRT. The cumulative stroke incidence in survivors treated with 50+ Gy CRT was 1.1% (95% CI 0.4–1.8) at 10 years post-diagnosis and 12% (95% CI 8.9–15.0) at 30 years. Hypertension (HTN) increased stroke hazard by 4-fold (95% CI 2.8–5.5) and in black survivors by 16-fold (95% CI 6.9–36.6).
Young adult pediatric cancer survivors have an increased stroke risk that is associated with CRT in a dose dependent manner. Atherosclerotic risk factors enhanced this risk and should be treated aggressively.
PMCID: PMC3696633  PMID: 23680033
18.  Psychosocial Adjustment Among Cancer Survivors: Findings From a National Survey of Health and Well-Being 
The current study examined whether cancer survivors showed impairment, resilience, or growth responses relative to a sociodemographically matched sample in four domains: mental health and mood, psychological well-being, social well-being, and spirituality. The impact of aging on psychosocial adjustment was also investigated.
Participants were 398 cancer survivors who were participants in the MIDUS survey (Midlife in the United States) and 796 matched respondents with no cancer history. Psychosocial assessments were completed in 1995-96 and 2004-06.
Findings indicated that cancer survivors demonstrated impairment relative to the comparison group in mental health, mood, and some aspects of psychological well-being. Longitudinal analyses spanning pre- and post-diagnosis clarified that while mental health declined after a cancer diagnosis, poorer functioning in other domains existed prior to diagnosis. However, survivors exhibited resilient social well-being, spirituality, and personal growth. Moreover, age appeared to confer resiliency; older survivors were more likely than younger adults to show psychosocial functioning equivalent to their peers.
While younger survivors may be at risk for disturbances in mental health and mood, cancer survivors show resilience in other important domains of psychosocial adjustment.
PMCID: PMC2668871  PMID: 19290706
cancer; mental health; mood; resilience; aging
19.  Evaluation of Memory Impairment in Aging Adult Survivors of Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treated With Cranial Radiotherapy 
Cranial radiotherapy (CRT) is a known risk factor for neurocognitive impairment in survivors of childhood cancer and may increase risk for mild cognitive impairment and dementia in adulthood.
We performed a cross-sectional evaluation of survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) treated with 18 Gy (n = 127) or 24 Gy (n = 138) CRT. Impairment (age-adjusted score >1 standard deviation below expected mean, two-sided exact binomial test) on the Wechsler Memory Scale IV (WMS-IV) was measured. A subset of survivors (n = 85) completed structural and functional neuroimaging.
Survivors who received 24 Gy, but not 18 Gy, CRT had impairment in immediate (impairment rate = 33.8%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 25.9% to 42.4%; P < .001) and delayed memory (impairment rate = 30.2%, 95% CI = 22.6% to 38.6%; P < .001). The mean score for long-term narrative memory among survivors who received 24 Gy CRT was equivalent to that for individuals older than 69 years. Impaired immediate memory was associated with smaller right (P = .02) and left (P = .008) temporal lobe volumes, and impaired delayed memory was associated with thinner parietal and frontal cortices. Lower hippocampal volumes and increased functional magnetic resonance imaging activation were observed with memory impairment. Reduced cognitive status (Brief Cognitive Status Exam from the WMS-IV) was identified after 24 Gy (18.5%, 95% CI = 12.4% to 26.1%; P < .001), but not 18 Gy (8.7%, 95% CI = 4.4% to 15.0%; P = .11), CRT, suggesting a dose–response effect. Employment rates were equivalent (63.8% for 24 Gy CRT and 63.0% for 18 Gy CRT).
Adult survivors who received 24 Gy CRT had reduced cognitive status and memory, with reduced integrity in neuroanatomical regions essential in memory formation, consistent with early onset mild cognitive impairment.
PMCID: PMC3687368  PMID: 23584394
20.  Late-Occurring Neurologic Sequelae in Adult Survivors of Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: A Report From the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;28(2):324-331.
Children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are often cured, but the therapies they receive may be neurotoxic. Little is known about the incidence and severity of late-occurring neurologic sequelae in ALL survivors. Data were analyzed to determine the incidence of adverse long-term neurologic outcomes and treatment-related risk factors.
Patients and Methods
We analyzed adverse neurologic outcomes that occurred after diagnosis in 4,151 adult survivors of childhood ALL who participated in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), a retrospective cohort of 5-year survivors of childhood cancer diagnosed between 1970 and 1986. A randomly selected cohort of the survivors' siblings served as a comparison group. Self-reported auditory-vestibular-visual sensory deficits, focal neurologic dysfunction, seizures, and serious headaches were assessed.
The median age at outcome assessment was 20.2 years for survivors. The median follow-up time to death or last survey since ALL diagnosis was 14.1 years. Of the survivors, 64.5% received cranial radiation and 94% received intrathecal chemotherapy. Compared with the sibling cohort, survivors were at elevated risk for late-onset auditory-vestibular-visual sensory deficits (rate ratio [RR], 1.8; 95% CI, 1.5 to 2.2), coordination problems (RR, 4.1; 95% CI, 3.1 to 5.3), motor problems (RR, 5.0; 95% CI, 3.8 to 6.7), seizures (RR, 4.6; 95% CI, 3.4 to 6.2), and headaches (RR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.4 to 1.7). In multivariable analysis, relapse was the most influential factor that increased risk of late neurologic complications.
Children treated with regimens that include cranial radiation for ALL and those who suffer a relapse are at increased risk for late-onset neurologic sequelae.
PMCID: PMC2815720  PMID: 19917844
21.  Insulin Resistance and Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease in Young Adult Survivors of Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(22):3698-3704.
To determine the prevalence of insulin resistance and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in young adult survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Patients and Methods
In this cross-sectional evaluation of 118 survivors of childhood ALL (median age, 23.0 years; range, 18 to 37 years), insulin resistance was estimated using the homeostasis model for assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Sex-specific comparisons were made with a cohort of 30- to 37-year-old individuals from the same region participating in the Dallas Heart Study (DHS, N = 782). ALL survivors were stratified by treatment with and without cranial radiotherapy (CRT).
Female ALL survivors had a significantly higher HOMA-IR (CRT, mean 4.6, 95% CI, 3.6 to 5.7; no CRT, mean 3.3, 95% CI, 2.8 to 3.8) in comparison with DHS women (mean 2.4, 95% CI, 2.2 to 2.7). Eighty percent of women treated with CRT had at least three of six CVD risk factors, and they were significantly more likely to have three or more risk factors compared with DHS women (odds ratio [OR], 5.96; 95% CI, 2.15 to 16.47). Male ALL survivors had a significantly higher HOMA-IR (CRT, mean 4.0, 95% CI, 2.8 to 5.6; no CRT, mean 3.4, 95% CI, 2.9 to 3.9) in comparison with DHS men (mean 2.3, 95% CI, 2.1 to 2.6), but were not more likely to have multiple CVD risk factors.
ALL survivors had an increased prevalence of insulin resistance in comparison with a cohort of older individuals from the same community. Importantly, women treated with CRT seem to have an increased prevalence of multiple CVD risk factors, warranting close monitoring and risk-reducing strategies.
PMCID: PMC2720083  PMID: 19564534
22.  Decreased adult height in survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study 
The Journal of pediatrics  2007;150(4):370-375.e1.
To determine risk factors associated with reduced adult height in survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Study design
Cross-sectional study. Attained adult height was determined among 2,434 ALL survivors participating in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, a cohort of five-year survivors of common pediatric cancers diagnosed from 1970–1986, and compared with 3,009 siblings.
All survivor treatment exposure groups (chemotherapy alone, chemotherapy with cranial or craniospinal radiotherapy) had decreased adult heights and an increased risk of adult short stature (height standard deviation score < −2) compared with siblings (p<0.001). Compared with siblings, the risk of short stature for survivors treated with chemotherapy alone was elevated (OR 3.4, 95% CI 1.9, 6.0). Among survivors, significant risk factors for short stature included diagnosis of ALL prior to puberty, higher dose cranial radiotherapy (≥20 Gy versus <20 Gy), any radiotherapy to the spine, and female sex.
Survivors of childhood ALL are at increased risk of adult short stature, including those treated with chemotherapy alone. Risk is highest for those treated with cranial and craniospinal radiotherapy at a young age.
PMCID: PMC2766352  PMID: 17382112
chemotherapy; epidemiology; growth deficiency; late effects; radiation; survivorship
23.  Longitudinal Changes in Obesity and Body Mass Index Among Adult Survivors of Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: A Report From the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2008;26(28):4639-4645.
We examined the rate of increase in the body mass index (BMI; kg/m2) after final height attainment in survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and a noncancer comparison group.
Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) is a retrospectively ascertained cohort study that prospectively tracks the health status of adults who were diagnosed with childhood cancer between 1970 and 1986 and a comparison group of siblings. Changes in BMI from baseline enrollment to time of completion of follow-up (mean interval, 7.8 years) were calculated for 1,451 ALL survivors (mean age, 32.3 years at follow-up) and 2,167 siblings of childhood cancer survivors (mean age, 35.9 years).
The mean BMI of the CCSS sibling comparison group increased with age (women, 0.25 units/yr, 95% CI, 0.22 to 0.28 units; men, 0.23 units/yr, 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.25 units). Compared with CCSS siblings, ALL survivors who were treated with cranial radiation therapy (CRT) had a significantly greater increase in BMI (women, 0.41 units/yr, 95% CI, 0.37 to 0.45 units; men, 0.29 units/yr; 95% CI, 0.26 to 0.32 units). The rate of BMI increase was not significantly increased for ALL survivors who were treated with chemotherapy alone. Younger age at CRT exposure significantly modified risk.
CRT used in the treatment of childhood ALL is associated with a greater rate of increasing BMI, particularly among women treated with CRT during the first decade of life. Health care professionals should be aware of this risk and interventions to reduce or manage weight gain are essential in this high-risk population.
PMCID: PMC2653124  PMID: 18824710
24.  Symptom Burden in Cancer Survivors One Year after Diagnosis: A Report from the American Cancer Society’s Studies of Cancer Survivors 
Cancer  2011;117(12):2779-2790.
Few studies have examined risk for severe symptoms during early cancer survivorship. Using baseline data from the American Cancer Society’s Study of Cancer Survivors-I, we examined cancer survivors with high symptom burden, identified risk factors associated with high symptom burden, and evaluated the impact of high symptom burden on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) 1 year post-diagnosis.
Participants were enrolled from 11 state cancer registries approximately 1 year after diagnosis and surveyed by telephone or mail. Outcomes measures were the Modified Rotterdam Symptom Checklist and Profile of Mood States-37 (to assess symptom burden) and the Satisfaction with Life Domains Scale-Cancer (to assess HRQoL).
Of 4903 survivors, 4512 (92%) reported symptoms related to their cancer and/or its treatment. Two-step clustering yielded 2 sub-groups, one with low symptom burden (n=3113) and one with high symptom burden (n=1399). Variables associated with high symptom burden included metastatic cancer (odds ratio [OR], 2.05), number of comorbid conditions (OR, 1.76), remaining on active chemotherapy (OR, 1.93), younger age (OR, 2.31), lacking insurance/being underinsured (OR, 1.57), having lower income (OR, 1.61), being unemployed (OR, 1.27), or being less educated (OR, 1.29). Depression, fatigue, and pain had the greatest impact on HRQoL in survivors with high symptom burden, who also had lower HRQoL (P < .0001).
More than 1 in 4 cancer survivors had high symptom burden 1 year post-diagnosis, even after treatment termination. These results indicate a need for continued symptom monitoring and management in early posttreatment survivorship, especially for the underserved.
PMCID: PMC3143572  PMID: 21495026
cancer survivorship; symptom burden; late effects; risk factors; quality of life; cluster analysis
25.  Psychological Status in Childhood Cancer Survivors: A Report From the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(14):2396-2404.
Psychological quality of life (QOL), health-related QOL (HRQOL), and life satisfaction outcomes and their associated risk factors are reviewed for the large cohort of survivors and siblings in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS). This review includes previously published manuscripts that used CCSS data focused on psychological outcome measures, including the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI-18), the Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form-36 (SF-36), the Cantril Ladder of Life, and other self-report questionnaires. Comparisons and contrasts are made between siblings and survivors, and to normative data when available, in light of demographic/health information and abstracted data from the medical record. These studies demonstrate that a significant proportion of survivors report more symptoms of global distress and poorer physical, but not emotional, domains of HRQOL. Other than brain tumor survivors, most survivors report both good present and expected future life satisfaction. Risk factors for psychological distress and poor HRQOL are female sex, lower educational attainment, unmarried status, annual household income less than $20,000, unemployment, lack of health insurance, presence of a major medical condition, and treatment with cranial radiation and/or surgery. Cranial irradiation impacted neurocognitive outcomes, especially in brain tumor survivors. Psychological distress also predicted poor health behaviors, including smoking, alcohol use, fatigue, and altered sleep. Psychological distress and pain predicted use of complementary and alternative medicine. Overall, most survivors are psychologically healthy and report satisfaction with their lives. However, certain groups of childhood cancer survivors are at high risk for psychological distress, neurocognitive dysfunction, and poor HRQOL, especially in physical domains. These findings suggest targeting interventions for groups at highest risk for adverse outcomes and examining the positive growth that remains despite the trauma of childhood cancer.
PMCID: PMC2677925  PMID: 19255309

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