Fluoride supplementation status, fractures and osteopenia in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia
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Children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) experience fractures on the basis of osteopenia related to chemotherapy administered for the maintenance of remission. It is likely that corticosteroids are the main cause of bone mineral loss in this circumstance. Because fluoride has been used as a therapeutic intervention in osteoporosis, including that induced by corticosteroid therapy, we explored the prospect that children with ALL who received fluoride supplementation (in drinking water or from other sources) may be relatively protected from iatrogenic skeletal morbidity. Children who completed therapy according to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute protocol 87-01 (n=35) were assessed by skeletal radiology and bone densitometry every 6 months from diagnosis. In addition, their families completed a questionnaire relating to fluoride supplementation. There was no correlation between such fluoride supplementation and either the prevalence of fractures or the severity of osteopenia. This outcome may reflect the mainly appendicular location of the fractures in this group of children. These findings, together with a consideration of the risk benefit ratio of fluoride administration to children at large, suggest that such intervention is unlikely to be beneficial in limiting skeletal morbidity during the treatment of ALL in childhood.
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