Height and Weight in Children Treated for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Relationship to CNS Treatment Academic Article uri icon

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  • Purpose: We evaluated the long-term effects of treatment on height and weight in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) treated with one of the following three different CNS therapies: intrathecal therapy alone, intrathecal therapy with conventional cranial radiation, or intrathecal therapy with twice-daily radiation. Patients and Methods: Between 1987 and 1995, 618 children treated on two consecutive Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Consortium protocols for ALL were measured for height and weight at diagnosis, and approximately every 6 months thereafter. Patient height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) were converted to z scores for age and sex using the 2000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts for the United States. Results: Children younger than 13 years at diagnosis had a statistically significant decrease in their height z scores and an increase in their BMI z scores, regardless of whether they had received cranial radiation. Young age at diagnosis and increased chemotherapy intensity were major risk factors. Unexpectedly, there was no significant difference in long-term height between children who received radiation and those who did not. Conclusion: Final height is compromised in survivors of ALL. The detrimental effects on height occur during therapy without the ability for long-term catch-up growth. Although patients became overweight for height, this seemed to be a result of relative height loss with normal weight gain rather than accelerated weight gain. The type of CNS treatment received did not affect changes in height, weight, or BMI.


  • Dalton, Virginia Kimball
  • Rue, Montse
  • Silverman, Lewis B
  • Gelber, Richard D
  • Asselin, Barbara L
  • Barr, Ronald Duncan
  • Clavell, Luis A
  • Hurwitz, Craig A
  • Moghrabi, Albert
  • Samson, Yvan
  • Schorin, Marshall
  • Tarbell, Nancy J
  • Sallan, Stephen E
  • Cohen, Laurie E

publication date

  • August 1, 2003

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