Doxorubicin causes cardiac injury and cardiomyopathy in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Measuring biomarkers during therapy might help individualize treatment by immediately identifying cardiac injury and cardiomyopathy.
Patients and Methods
Children with high-risk ALL were randomly assigned to receive doxorubicin alone (n = 100; 75 analyzed) or doxorubicin with dexrazoxane (n = 105; 81 analyzed). Echocardiograms and serial serum measurements of cardiac troponin T (cTnT; cardiac injury biomarker), N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP; cardiomyopathy biomarker), and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP; inflammatory biomarker) were obtained before, during, and after treatment.
cTnT levels were increased in 12% of children in the doxorubicin group and in 13% of the doxorubicin-dexrazoxane group before treatment but in 47% and 13%, respectively, after treatment (P = .005). NT-proBNP levels were increased in 89% of children in the doxorubicin group and in 92% of children in the doxorubicin-dexrazoxane group before treatment but in only 48% and 20%, respectively, after treatment (P = .07). The percentage of children with increased hsCRP levels did not differ between groups at any time. In the first 90 days of treatment, detectable increases in cTnT were associated with abnormally reduced left ventricular (LV) mass and LV end-diastolic posterior wall thickness 4 years later (P < .01); increases in NT-proBNP were related to an abnormal LV thickness-to-dimension ratio, suggesting LV remodeling, 4 years later (P = .01). Increases in hsCRP were not associated with any echocardiographic variables.
cTnT and NT-proBNP may hold promise as biomarkers of cardiotoxicity in children with high-risk ALL. Definitive validation studies are required to fully establish their range of clinical utility.