Incidence and management of patients with methotrexate delayed elimination in the clinical practice: A Delphi study

J Oncol Pharm Pract. 2022 Feb 11;10781552221079568. doi: 10.1177/10781552221079568. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: High-dose methotrexate (HDMTX) is administered for the treatment of some cancers. HDMTX is usually safe but may crystallize in renal tubules causing acute kidney injury (AKI). Consequently, MTX elimination is delayed, resulting in a severe and life-threatening condition. No studies have been published about the impact of MTX toxicity in Spain. This study aims to estimate the incidence and management of MTX delayed elimination and toxicity.

Methods: A two-round Delphi study was performed to reach consensus between 10 medical experts on haemato-oncology and paediatric oncology with experience in the management of HDMTX treated patients from leading Spanish hospitals. An online questionnaire was developed based on national and international guidelines and previous evidence regarding HDMTX-related toxicity. Consensus was established at 80% agreement. Median and interquartile ranges were calculated, and incidence data were extrapolated to the Spanish general population.

Results: Out of 1.475 patients estimated to receive HDMTX treatment annually in Spain, 27.5% present MTX delayed elimination and 11.6% develop HDMTX-induced AKI (35.4% with severe systemic toxicities (>grade 3) and 18.8% develop chronic renal disease). Mortality is estimated in 4.2%. Immuno-enzymatic assay is used in most of the hospitals (90%) for MTX serum level monitoring. All experts use increased supportive care and high leucovorin as first-line treatment. Available treatments in experts' hospitals in case toxicity persists are haemodialysis (90% of hospitals), glucarpidase (60%) and hemofiltration (50%). Most prevalent non-renal systemic toxicities are haematologic and mucositis (21-40% of patients). Patients with HDMTX-induced AKI require from intensive care (5% of patients), more than 3 sessions and 4 days of dialysis, and about 8.5 days of hospitalization (non-ICU patients) and 12 days in case of patients requiring ICU.

Conclusions: These results are the first evidence regarding HDMTX-induced AKI in Spain. Incidence and mortality results are in line with previous studies. Clinical management is based on preventive measures and the treatment depend on the availability in the hospital. The need for effective, safe and rapid treatment for the reduction of MTX toxic levels and the improvement of monitoring methods were noted by experts as urgent needs. Further observational studies to validate these results would be needed.

Keywords: High-dose methotrexate; acute kidney injury; clinical management; epidemiology; methotrexate delayed elimination.