Short-term changes in lower leg length in children treated for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 1999 Jan-Feb;12(1):75-80. doi: 10.1515/jpem.1999.12.1.75.


The lower leg length velocity (LLLV) of 14 children with a median age of 4.5 yr who were undergoing chemotherapy (CT) for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) was studied for a median duration of 56 weeks (range 14-112). Nine children were studied over the first 6 months, six over the first year, four over the full 2-year course and nine children over the 3 months before and after the end of CT. Over the first month of CT, during induction, median LLLV was 0 mm/wk (P5, P95: -1.6, 0.11); during the fourth month of CT, at the end of CNS-directed therapy, there was a significant rise to 0.38 mm/wk (P5, P95: -0.04, 0.81; p = 0.01, WSR). In the children measured following the end of CT, median LLLV rose from 0.46 mm/wk (P5, P95: -0.02, 0.79) in month 23 to 0.84 mm/wk (P5, P95: 0.72, 1.12) (p = 0.03). There was a positive relationship between neutrophil count and LLLV during continuation chemotherapy (r = 0.4, p = 0.0002); median LLLV was 0.2 mm/ wk (P5, P95: -0.15, 0.5) when the neutrophil count was less than 1 x 10(9)/l and 0.65 mm/wk (P5, P95: 0.1, 1.0) (p = 0.01) when the count was above 1 x 10(9)/l. No significant differences in LLLV were observed between children randomised to different UKALLXI regimens. Intensive chemotherapy for ALL adversely affects lower leg growth. Growth was subnormal during the first few weeks of chemotherapy, but was comparable to healthy children during CNS directed and continuation therapy. There was a significant relationship between growth velocity and neutrophil count during continuation chemotherapy. On discontinuation of chemotherapy there was a further acceleration in lower leg length velocity to supranormal levels ("catch-up" growth).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Growth / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Leg / growth & development*
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / blood
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / drug therapy
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / physiopathology*
  • Remission Induction
  • Time Factors