A prospective survey study of lower urinary tract dysfunction in childhood cancer survivors after vincristine and/or doxorubicin chemotherapy

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2021 Oct;68(10):e29226. doi: 10.1002/pbc.29226. Epub 2021 Jul 10.


Background: Two chemotherapeutic agents used widely in pediatric oncology are vincristine (VCR) and doxorubicin (DOX), which may cause neuropathy and myopathy, respectively. The study hypothesis is that neurotoxic effects of VCR and/or myotoxic effects of DOX affect bladder physiology and manifest clinically as lower urinary tract dysfunction (LUTD).

Procedure: Based on a priori power analysis, 161 children divided evenly by gender were recruited. Children aged 5-10 years completed the dysfunctional voiding scoring system (DVSS) survey. The study cohort comprised cancer survivors treated with VCR and/or DOX. Healthy controls were recruited from well-child clinic visits. Exclusion criteria included pelvic-based malignancy, pelvic irradiation, pre-existing LUTD, neurologic abnormalities, and treatment with cyclophosphamide/ifosfamide. DVSS scores and presence of LUTD, defined as DVSS scores above gender-specific thresholds (males ≥9, females ≥6), were compared across cohorts.

Results: Median DVSS scores were higher in the study cohort (6 vs. 4, p = .003). Moreover, children in the study cohort were more likely to exceed threshold scores for LUTD (38.8% vs. 21%, p = .014; OR 1.8). Subanalysis by gender revealed female cancer survivors are more likely to report LUTD than controls (57.5% vs. 30%, p = .013, OR 1.9). This did not hold true for males (20% vs. 12.2%, p = .339).

Conclusions: Childhood cancer survivors who received VCR and/or DOX reported higher rates of LUTD than controls. Female cancer survivors appear more likely to suffer from LUTD than males. Further study with a positive control cohort of cancer survivors who received non-VCR, non-DOX chemotherapy is underway to elucidate the contribution of a cancer diagnosis to LUTD.

Keywords: DVSS; chemotherapy; lower urinary tract dysfunction; survivorship; urology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cancer Survivors*
  • Child
  • Doxorubicin* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms*
  • Male
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Urinary Bladder
  • Vincristine* / adverse effects


  • Vincristine
  • Doxorubicin