Retinoblastoma (RB) is the most common primary malignant intraocular tumor in children. Although systemic chemotherapy has been the primary treatment, intra-arterial chemotherapy (IAC) represents a new treatment option. Here, we performed alternate systemic chemotherapy and IAC and retrospectively reviewed the efficacy and safety of this approach.
Patients diagnosed with intraocular RB between January 2000 and December 2011 at Severance Children's Hospital, Yonsei University, were reviewed. Before February 2010, the primary treatment for RB was chemotherapy (non-IAC/CTX). Since February 2010, the primary treatment for RB has been IAC (IAC/CTX). External beam radiotherapy or high-dose chemotherapy were used as "last resort" treatments just prior to enucleation at the time of progression or recurrence during primary treatment. Enucleation-free survival (EFS) and progression-free survival were assessed.
We examined 19 patients (median age, 11.9 months; range, 1.4 to 75.6 months) with a sum of 25 eyes, of which, 60.0% were at advanced Reese Ellsworth (RE) stages. The enucleation rate was 33.3% at early RE stages and 81.8% at advanced RE stages (P=0.028). At 36 months, EFS was significantly higher in the IAC/CTX group than in the non-IAC/CTX group (100% vs. 40.0%, P=0.016). All 5 patients treated with IAC achieved eye preservation, although most patients were at advanced RE stages (IV-V).
Despite the limitation of a small sample size, our work shows that an alternative combined approach using IAC and CTX may be safe and effective for eye preservation in advanced RB.
Retinoblastoma; Combination chemotherapy; Intra-arterial infusion; Eye enucleation
Recent advances in childhood cancer treatment have increased survival rates to 80%. Two out of three survivors experience late effects (LEs). From a group of 241 survivors previously described, 193 were followed at the long-term follow-up clinic (LTFC) of Severance Hospital in Korea; the presence of LEs was confirmed by oncologists. We reported the change in LEs during 3 yr of follow-up. The median follow-up from diagnosis was 10.4 yr (5.1-26.2 yr). Among 193 survivors, the percentage of patients with at least one LE increased from 63.2% at the initial visit to 75.1% at the most recent visit (P = 0.011). The proportion of patients having multiple LEs and grade 2 or higher LEs increased from the initial visit (P = 0.001 respectively). Forty-eight non-responders to the LTFC were older and had less frequent and severe LEs than responders at initial visit (all P < 0.05). In multivariate analysis, younger age at diagnosis, older age at initial visit, a diagnosis of a brain tumor or lymphoma, and use of radiotherapy were significant risk factors for LEs (all P < 0.05). Adverse changes in LEs were seen among the survivors, regardless of most clinical risk factors. They need to receive comprehensive, long-term follow up.
Complications; Health; Late Effects; Morbidity; Neoplasms; Survivors
Wernicke's encephalopathy is an acute neurolopsychiatric syndrome caused by thiamine deficiency, and classically presents with the triad of opthalmopathy, ataxia and altered mentality. Both prolonged total parenteral nutrition and reduced oral intake can induce Wernicke's encephalopathy during hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Although early treatment is important for recovery from Wernicke's encephalopathy, the vague symptoms and characteristics hinder early diagnosis. Furthermore, Wernicke's encephalopathy is not infrequent and can develop at any age during HSCT. Herein, we present two young patients developing Wernicke's encephalopathy during HSCT.
Wernicke encephalopathy; thiamine; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
Regardless of improvement in cure of Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), the results in treatment of advanced stage of RMS in children are still dismal. Recently, high-dose chemotherapy followed by autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (HDC/APBSCT) has been tried to manage the advanced high-risk RMS patients. We investigated the effectiveness of HDC/APBSCT by reviewing the clinical records of high-risk pediatric RMS patients in single institute database. Over twenty years, 37 patients were diagnosed as RMS with high-risk at the time of first diagnosis. These patients were classified as two groups according to treatment method. The first group was HDC/APBSCT and the other was conventional multi-agent chemotherapy group. Differences of clinical results between the two groups were analyzed. The median age of patients was 5 yr, ranging from 6 months to 15 yr. The 5-yr event free survival rate (EFS) of all patients was 24.8% ± 4.8%. HDC/APBSCT group and conventional multi-agent chemotherapy group were 41.3% ± 17.8% and 16.7% ± 7.6% for 5-yr EFS, respectively (P = 0.023). There was a significant difference in the result of HDC/APBSCT between complete remission or very good partial response group and poor response group (50% ± 20.4% vs 37.5% ± 28.6%, P = 0.018). HDC/APBSCT can be a promising treatment modality in high-risk RMS patients.
Rhabdomyosarcoma; Children; Chemotherapy; Bone Marrow Transplantation
Iron overload is a predictable and life-threatening complication in patients dependent on the regular transfusion of RBCs. The aims of this study were to investigate the efficacy and safety of deferiprone in a variety of pediatric hematologic and/or oncologic patients with a high iron overload.
Seventeen patients (age: 1.1-20.4 years; median: 10.6 years) from 7 hospitals who were treated with deferiprone from 2006 to 2009 were enrolled in this study. Medical records of enrolled patients were reviewed retrospectively.
Serum ferritin levels were 4,677.8±1,130.9 µg/L at baseline compared to 3,363.9±1,149.7 µg/L at the end of deferiprone treatment (P=0.033). Only 1 patient developed neutropenia as a complication.
Deferiprone treatment is relatively safe for pediatric patients suffering from various hematologic and oncologic diseases that require RBC transfusions as part of treatment. However, the potential development of critical complications such as agranulocytosis and/or neutropenia remains a concern.
Deferiprone; Iron overload; Transfusion; Neutropenia
Intrachromosomal amplification of chromosome 21 (iAMP21) is known to be associated with poor prognosis in B-cell ALL (B-ALL). To determine the frequency and clinical characteristics of iAMP21 in Korean B-ALL patients, we performed FISH and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) analyses.
A total of 102 childhood B-ALL patients were screened with ETV6-RUNX1 FISH probes (Abbott Molecular, USA). The presence of an iAMP21 was confirmed by using MLPA P327 iAMP21-ERG probemix (MRC Holland, The Netherlands).
iAMP21 was detected in one of the screened B-ALL patients (1/102 patients, 1.0%) who presented the ALL immunophenotype and complex karyotype at initial diagnosis. The patient relapsed twice after bone marrow transplantation. MLPA showed 12.5-Mb and 4.28-Mb regions of amplification and deletion, respectively.
The frequency of iAMP21 is considerable in Korean pediatric patients. Our report suggests that iAMP21 in childhood B-ALL has very unfavorable impact on patient's prognosis. Additional methods such as MLPA analysis is essential to rule out patients with equivocal interphase FISH results.
iAMP21; RUNX1; ERG; FISH; MLPA; Acute lymphoblastic leukemia; Korean; Childhood
This retrospective study investigated the clinical characteristics and outcomes of second malignant neoplasms (SMNs) in survivors of childhood cancer from multiple institutions in Korea. A total of 102 patients from 11 institutions who developed SMN after childhood cancer treatment between 1998 and 2011 were retrospectively enrolled. The most common primary malignant neoplasms (PMNs) were central nervous system (CNS) tumors (n = 17), followed by acute lymphoblastic leukemia (n = 16), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (n = 13), and osteosarcoma (n = 12). The most common SMNs were therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (t-MNs; acute myeloid leukemia [AML], 29 cases; myelodysplastic syndrome [MDS], 12 cases), followed by thyroid carcinomas (n = 15) and CNS tumors (n = 10). The median latency period was 4.9 years (range, 0.5–18.5 years). Among 45 patients with solid tumors defined as an SMN, 15 (33%) developed the lesion in a field previously subjected to radiation. The 5-year overall survival (OS) rate of patients with an SMN was 45% with a median follow-up time of 8.6 years. Patients with AML, MDS, and CNS tumors exhibited the poorest outcomes with 5-year OS rates of 18%, 33%, and 32%, respectively, whereas those with second osteosarcoma showed comparable outcomes (64%) to patients with primary counterpart and those with second thyroid carcinoma had a 100% OS rate. Further therapeutic efforts are recommended to improve the survival outcomes in patients with SMNs, especially in cases with t-MNs and CNS tumors.
Childhood; Cancer; Survivors; Second Neoplasm
In childhood cancer survivors, the most common late effect is thyroid dysfunction, most notably subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH). Our study evaluated the risk factors for persistent SCH in survivors.
Materials and Methods
Survivors (n=423) were defined as patients who survived at least 2 years after cancer treatment completion. Thyroid function was assessed at this time and several years thereafter. Two groups of survivors with SCH were compared: those who regained normal thyroid function during the follow-up period (normalized group) and those who did not (persistent group).
Overall, 104 of the 423 survivors had SCH. SCH was observed in 26% of brain or nasopharyngeal cancer survivors (11 of 43) and 21.6% of leukemia survivors (35 of 162). Sixty-two survivors regained normal thyroid function, 30 remained as persistent SCH, and 12 were lost to follow-up. The follow-up duration was 4.03 (2.15–5.78) years. Brain or nasopharyngeal cancer and Hodgkin disease were more common in the persistent group than in the normalized group (p=0.002). More patients in the persistent group received radiation (p=0.008). Radiation to the head region was higher in this group (2394±2469 cGy) than in the normalized group (894±1591 cGy; p=0.003). On multivariable analysis, lymphoma (p=0.011), brain or nasopharyngeal cancer (p=0.039), and head radiation dose ≥1800 cGy (p=0.039) were significant risk factors for persistent SCH.
SCH was common in childhood cancer survivors. Brain or nasopharyngeal cancer, lymphoma, and head radiation ≥1800 cGy were significant risk factors for persistent SCH.
Hypothyroidism; neoplasm; survivor; child
Unique features of adolescent cancer patients include cancer types, developmental stages, and psychosocial issues. In this study, we evaluated the relationship between diagnostic delay and survival to improve adolescent cancer care.
Materials and Methods
A total of 592 patients aged 0–18 years with eight common cancers were grouped according to age (adolescents, ≥10 years; children, <10 years). We retrospectively reviewed their symptom intervals (SIs, between first symptom/sign of disease and diagnosis), patient delay (PD, between first symptom/sign of disease and first contact with a physician), patient delay proportion (PDP), and overall survival (OS).
Mean SI was significantly longer in adolescents than in children (66.4 days vs. 28.4 days; p<0.001), and OS rates were higher in patients with longer SIs (p=0.001). In children with long SIs, OS did not differ according to PDP (p=0.753). In adolescents with long SIs, OS was worse when PDP was ≥0.6 (67.2%) than <0.6 (95.5%, p=0.007). In a multivariate analysis, adolescents in the long SI/PDP ≥0.6 group tended to have a higher hazard ratio (HR, 6.483; p=0.069) than those in the long SI/PDP <0.6 group (HR=1, reference).
Adolescents with a long SI/PDP ≥0.6 had lower survival rates than those with a short SI/all PDP or a long SI/PDP <0.6. They should be encouraged to seek prompt medical assistance by a physician or oncologist to lessen PDs.
Adolescent cancer patients; symptom interval; patient delay
The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of radiotherapy (RT) in the management of Ewing sarcoma family tumors (ESFT).
Materials and Methods
Retrospective analysiswas performed on 91 patientswith localized ESFT treated from 1988 to 2012. Primary tumor size was ≥ 8 cm in 33 patients. Surgery, RT, and combined surgery with RT were applied in 37, 15, and 33 patients, respectively.
Median follow-up was 43.8 months. Forty-three patients (47.3%) showed recurrence or progressive disease. Twelve patients (13.2%) showed local failure after initial treatment. Thirty-nine patients (42.9%) experienced distant metastases. The 5-year overall survival (OS), progression-free survival, and local control (LC) were 60.5%, 58.2%, and 85.1%, respectively. According to treatment, 5-year LCwas 64.8% with RT and 90.2% with combined surgery and RT (p=0.052). Prognostic factors for OS were tumor size (≥ 8 cm, p < 0.001) and surgical resection (p < 0.001). In large tumors (≥ 8 cm), combined surgery and RT produced better LC compared to RT (p=0.033). However, in smaller tumors (< 8 cm), RT without surgery resulted in a similar LC rate as RT with surgery (p=0.374).
RT used for patients with unfavorable risk factors resulted in worse outcome than for patientswho received surgery. Smallertumors could be controlled locallywith chemotherapy and RT. For large tumors, combined surgery and RT is needed. Proper selection of local treatment modality, RT, surgery, or both is crucial in the management of ESFT.
Ewing sarcoma; Surgery; Radiotherapy; Tumor burden
The purpose of this study is to investigate the long-term results and appropriateness of radiation therapy (RT) for medulloblastoma (MB) at a single institution.
Materials and Methods
We analyzed the clinical outcomes of 106 patients with MB who received RT between January 1992 and October 2009. The median age was 7 years (range, 0 to 50 years), and the proportion of M0, M1, M2, and M3 stages was 60.4%, 8.5%, 4.7%, and 22.6%, respectively. The median total craniospinal irradiation (CSI) and posterior fossa tumor bed dose in 102 patients (96.2%) treated with CSI was 36 Gy and 54 Gy, respectively.
The median follow-up period in survivors was 132 months (range, 31 to 248 months). A gradual improvement in survival outcomes was observed, with 5-year overall survival rates of 61.5% in 1990s increasing to 73.6% in 2000s. A total of 29 recurrences (27.4%) developed at the following sites: five (17.2%) in the tumor bed; five (17.2%) in the posterior fossa other than the tumor bed; nine (31%) in the supratentorium; and six (20.7%) in the spinal subarachnoid space only. The four remaining patients showed multiple site recurrences. Among 12 supratentorial recurrences, five cases recurred in the subfrontal areas. Although the frequency of posterior fossa/tumor bed recurrences was significantly high among patients treated with subtotal resection, other site (other intracranial/spinal) recurrences were more common among patients treated with gross tumor removal (p=0.016). There was no case of spinal subarachnoid space relapse from desmoplastic/extensive nodular histological subtypes.
Long-term follow-up results and patterns of failure confirmed the importance of optimal RT dose and field arrangement. More tailored multimodal strategies and proper CSI technique may be the cornerstones for improving treatment outcomes in MB patients.
Craniospinal irradiation; Radiotherapy; Recurrence; Medulloblastoma
Despite the rapid improvement in survival rate from Burkitt lymphoma and mature B-cell lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) in children, a small subset of patients do not respond to first-line chemotherapy or experience relapse (RL). Herein, we report the clinical characteristics and outcomes of these patients.
Materials and Methods
RL or refractory Burkitt lymphoma and mature B-ALL in 125 patients diagnosed from 1990 to 2009 were retrospectively analyzed.
Nineteen patients experienced RL or progressive disease (PD). Among them, 12 patients had PD or RL less than six months after initial treatment and seven had late RL. Seven patients achieved complete response (CR), 11 had PD, and one had no more therapy. Six patients who achieved CR survived without evidence of disease and four of them underwent high-dose chemotherapy (HDC) followed by stem cell transplantation (SCT). However, 11 patients who failed to obtain CR eventually died of their disease. Five-year overall survival (OS) was 31.6±10.7%. OS of patients with late RL was superior to that of patients with early RL (57.1±18.7%, vs. 16.7±10.8%, p=0.014). Achievement of CR after reinduction had significant OS (p < 0.001). OS for patients who were transplanted was superior (p < 0.01). In multivariate analysis, achievement of CR after reinduction chemotherapy showed an association with improved OS (p=0.05).
Late RL and chemotherapy-sensitive patients have the chance to achieve continuous CR using HDC/SCT, whereas patients who are refractory to retrieval therapy have poor prognosis. Therefore, novel salvage strategy is required for improvement of survival for this small set of patients.
Burkitt lymphoma; Recurrence; Children
The number of patients diagnosed with hereditary hemolytic anemia (HHA) has increased since the advent of novel diagnostic techniques that accurately identify this disorder. Here, we report data from a survey on the prevalence and characteristics of patients diagnosed with HHA in Korea from 2007 to 2011.
Information on patients diagnosed with HHA in Korea and their clinical and laboratory results were collected using a survey questionnaire. Globin gene and red blood cell (RBC) enzyme analyses were performed. In addition, we analyzed data collected by pediatricians.
In total, 195 cases of HHA were identified. Etiologies identified for HHA were RBC membranopathies, hemoglobinopathies, and RBC enzymopathies, which accounted for 127 (64%), 39 (19.9%), and 26 (13.3%) cases, respectively. Of the 39 patients with hemoglobinopathies, 26 were confirmed by globin gene analysis, including 20 patients with β-thalassemia minor, 5 patients with α-thalassemia minor, and 1 patient with unstable hemoglobin disease.
The number of patients diagnosed with hemoglobinopathies and RBC enzymopathies has increased considerably since the previous survey on HHA in Korea, dated from 1997 to 2006. This is likely the result of improved diagnostic techniques. Nevertheless, there is still a need for more sensitive diagnostic tests utilizing flow cytometry and for better standardization of test results to improve the accuracy of diagnosis of RBC membranopathies in Korea. Additionally, more accurate assays for the identification of RBC enzymopathies are warranted.
Congenital hemolytic anemia; Hereditary spherocytosis; Thalassemia; Congenital nonspherocytic anemia
Diamond Blackfan anemia (DBA), characterized by impaired red cell production, is a rare condition that is usually symptomatic in early infancy. The purpose of this study was to assess nationwide experiences of DBA encountered over a period of 20 years.
The medical records of 56 patients diagnosed with DBA were retrospectively reviewed from November 1984 to July 2010. Fifteen institutions, including 13 university hospitals, participated in this study.
The male-to-female ratio of patients with DBA was 1.67:1. The median age of diagnosis was 4 months, and 74.1% were diagnosed before 1 year of age. From 2000 to 2009, annual incidence was 6.6 cases per million. Excluding growth retardation, 38.2% showed congenital defects: thumb deformities, ptosis, coarctation of aorta, ventricular septal defect, strabismus, etc. The mean hemoglobin concentration was 5.1±1.9 g/dL, mean corpuscular volume was 93.4±11.6 fL, and mean number of reticulocytes was 19,700/mm3. The mean cellularity of bone marrow was 75%, with myeloid:erythroid ratio of 20.4:1. After remission, 48.9% of patients did not need further steroids. Five patients with DBA who received hematopoietic transplantation have survived. Cancer developed in 2 cases (3.6%).
The incidence of DBA is similar to data already published, but our study had a male predilection. Although all patients responded to initial treatment with steroids, about half needed further steroids after remission. It is necessary to collect further data, including information regarding management pathways, from nationwide DBA registries, along with data on molecular analyses.
Diamond Blackfan anemia; Anemia; Congenital defects
The efficacy of tandem high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell rescue (HDCT/ASCR) was investigated in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma. Patients over 1 yr of age who were newly diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma from January 2000 to December 2005 were enrolled in The Korean Society of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology registry. All patients who were assigned to receive HDCT/ASCR at diagnosis were retrospectively analyzed to investigate the efficacy of single or tandem HDCT/ASCR. Seventy and 71 patients were assigned to receive single or tandem HDCT/ASCR at diagnosis. Fifty-seven and 59 patients in the single or tandem HDCT group underwent single or tandem HDCT/ASCR as scheduled. Twenty-four and 38 patients in the single or tandem HDCT group remained event free with a median follow-up of 56 (24-88) months. When the survival rate was analyzed according to intent-to-treat at diagnosis, the probability of the 5-yr event-free survival±95% confidence intervals was higher in the tandem HDCT group than in the single HDCT group (51.2±12.4% vs. 31.3±11.5%, P=0.030). The results of the present study demonstrate that the tandem HDCT/ASCR strategy is significantly better than the single HDCT/ASCR strategy for improved survival in the treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma patients.
Neuroblastoma; High-dose Chemotherapy; Transplantation, Autologous
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) are associated with increased angiogenesis, growth, and metastasis in solid tumors. But, until today, the importance of theses factors on leukemia, especially childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) has received limited attention. Therefore, this study examined the bone marrow plasma VEGF and bFGF levels in ALL patients and normal controls.
Patients and Methods
Bone marrow plasmas at diagnosis from 33 ALL patients (median age 5.9 years; range 1.8-13.9 years) were used for analysis. The bone marrow levels of bFGF and VEGF were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (R&D Systems) and compared with the bone marrow levels of 7 healthy control subjects (median age 11.98 years; 6 months -13.6 years).
Average VEGF was higher in relapse ALL (N=7, 216.6±79.9pg/mL) compared to standard (N=9, 36.8±12.1pg/mL) (p=0.013) or high risk ALL (N=17, 80.0±12.2pg/mL) (p=0.023). bFGF levels were also significantly higher in relapse than standard-, or high-risk ALL patients (relapse ALL; 48.6±15.4pg/mL, standard risk ALL; 18.9±5.5pg/mL, high risk ALL; 19.0±3.5pg/mL, normal control; 18.6±4.0pg/mL) (p=0.003). Three patients with refractory relapse and death had much higher VEGF and bFGF values (VEGF; 420.0±81.6pg/mL, bFGF; 85.6±3.2pg/mL).
Our data suggest that the increased levels of VEGF and bFGF in bone marrow may play an important role in prognosis of childhood ALL.
Angiogenesis factor; child; acute lymphocytic leukemia
Autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) for the treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma (NBL) is an accepted method for restoring bone marrow depression after high dose chemotherapy. We retrospectively analyzed eighty eight cases of NBL that underwent ASCT following marrow ablative therapy at 12 transplant centers of the Korean Society of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology between January 1996 and September 2000. Seventy nine children were of stage IV NBL and 9 were of stage III with N-myc amplification. Various cytoreductive regimens were used. However, the main regimen was 'CEM' consisting of carboplatin, etoposide and melphalan, and this was used in 66 patients. Total body irradiation was also added in 36 patients for myeloablation. To reduce tumor cell contamination, stem cell infusions after CD34+ cell selection were performed in 16 patients. Post-transplantation therapies included the second transplantation in 18 patients, interleukin2 therapy in 45, 13-cis retinoic acid in 40, 131-meta-iodobenzylguanidine in 4, conventional chemotherapy in 11, and local radiotherapy in 8. Twenty two patients died, sixty six patients are surviving 1 to 46 months after ASCT (median followup duration, 14.5 months). Although the follow-up period was short and the number of patients small, we believe that ASCT might improve the survival rate in high-risk NBL.