The following article features coverage from the American Society of Hematology (ASH) 2018 meeting. Click here to read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s conference coverage.

Treatments administered to children diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) were found to alter the microbiomes of these patients, and survivors of childhood ALL “should be evaluated longitudinally for association with the chronic medical illnesses seen in ALL survivors in adulthood,” concluded researchers during the 2018 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting in San Diego, California.1 Additionally, early interventions to restore gut microbiome dysbiosis in these patients could help them avoid adverse health outcomes in the future, they noted.

To test their theory, the research team tested fecal occult blood test cards from 38 survivors between 2 to 18 years old who were off ALL therapy for more than 1 year. They used 16 stool samples from 14 family members of those with ALL as controls. They used a modified Illumina 16S Metagenomics Sequencing Library Preparation protocol for analysis of hypervariable region V4 among samples. “Finally, read counts for each Operational Taxonomic Unit (OTU) was normalized and tested for differential abundance using edgeR, assuming a negative binomial model,” they noted.

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The researchers found the depletion of Faecalibacterium the most common difference among childhood survivors of ALL compared with samples from other family members (false discovery rate [FDR] = .0004), something they noted they have already seen among older populations of childhood ALL survivors.

When compared to their respective siblings, survivors exhibited decreased alpha diversity using 4 metrics, but these results did not reach statistical significance, and there were also no significant differences among survivors based on their different antibiotic usage, probiotic usage, disease risk, age at diagnosis, and time off treatment.

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s coverage of the ASH 2018 meeting by visiting the conference page.


  1. Thomas R, Wong WS, Piguet N, et al. Gut microbiome in survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Poster presented at: 018 American Society of Hematology 60th Annual Meeting & Exposition; December 1-4, 2018; San Diego, California. Poster 1384.