HealthDay News—For children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), obesity is associated with an increased risk for adverse events during premaintenance chemotherapy, according to a study published in the February issue of Pediatric Blood & Cancer.

Chelsea K. Meenan, from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues retrospectively evaluated 155 pediatric ALL patients diagnosed at a single institution between 2006 and 2012 for adverse events. The authors compared the proportions of obese vs nonobese patients experiencing adverse events.

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The researchers found that in univariate analyses, treatment-requiring hypertension (17.5% vs 6.1%; odds ratio, 3.27) and insulin-requiring hyperglycemia (25.0% vs 11.3%; odds ratio, 2.62) occurred significantly more frequently in obese patients. The incidence rates for recurrent admission-requiring infections (incidence rate ratio, 1.64) and recurrent febrile neutropenia admissions (incidence rate ratio, 1.53) were greater for obese patients. Obesity was a risk factor for treatment-requiring hypertension, insulin-requiring hyperglycemia, and febrile neutropenia admission after accounting for combined age and National Cancer Institute risk status (odds ratios, 3.90, 3.92, and 2.92, respectively).

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“Obese children with ALL represent a group of patients at risk for poor outcomes due to treatment-related morbidity,” the authors write. “Early management of these adverse events and surveillance initiated at diagnosis may mitigate risk in this distinct population of patients.”

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