Background: Monitoring of kidney function is essential during chemotherapy. Serum creatinine is of limited value in early detection of renal insufficiency. The cystatin C level has been proved to be a good marker for detection of mild reduction in glomerular filtration rate.
Purpose: To evaluate the validity of the pretreatment serum cystatin C level in predicting significant reduction of the glomerular filtration rate during the induction phase of chemotherapy.
Patients and methods: Serum levels of cystatin C and creatinine and corrected creatinine clearance were assessed in 34 children with different types of malignancy just before the start of chemotherapy and again in 33 of them 1 month later. Patients were compared with 14 healthy controls of matched age and sex.
Results: Before chemotherapy, all patients when compared with controls had normal levels of cystatin C (P = 0.1) and creatinine (P = 0.62) and normal corrected creatinine clearance (P = 0.76). One month after chemotherapy, patients showed a significant increase in their cystatin C levels (P < 0.001) and a significant decrease in their corrected creatinine clearance (P < 0.001). However, creatinine levels did not change significantly (P = 0.65). Corrected creatinine clearance negatively correlated significantly with both cystatin C and creatinine levels (r = -0.622, P < 0.001; r = -0.346, P = 0.045, respectively) before chemotherapy and also 1 month after chemotherapy (r = -0.577, P < 0.001; r = -0.45, P = 0.009, respectively). When pretreatment levels of cystatin C and creatinine were used to predict patients who developed a reduction in corrected creatinine clearance of more than 20% after therapy, only the cystatin C level was statistically significant (P = 0.03). A cutoff point of 0.57 mg/L with sensitivity of 77.8%, specificity of 63%, and overall accuracy of 74% was suggested.
Conclusions: Children with malignant diseases develop significant reduction in their glomerular filtration rate during the induction phase of chemotherapy, although their serum creatinine level may not change significantly. Cystatin C, as a more sensitive marker than creatinine for the assessment of glomerular filtration rate, can be used to predict patients who would have a higher risk of renal impairment during the induction phase of chemotherapy and who thus would require more frequent renal function assessment to consider adjustment of the chemotherapy dose if indicated.