Radiation-Induced Organ Failure Found in Pediatric Recipients of Stem Cell Transplants

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(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Young children who have received total body irradiation (TBI) in preparation for hematopoietic stem cell transplant (SCT) experience abnormalities in several organ systems, according to a team of US-based researchers. This conclusion is based on a study entitled “Late effects of total body irradiation and hematopoietic stem cell transplant in children under 3 years of age,” which was published online in Pediatric Blood & Cancer on July 27.

In this study, the investigators aimed to determine the late effects of total body irradiation (TBI), administered as a component of hematopoietic stem cell transplant (SCT), on young pediatric patients with malignancies. To meet this aim, the investigators conducted a retrospective analysis on outcomes in children younger than age 3 years who have received pre-SCT TBI.  

Of the 15 evaluable patients, more than 50% experienced the late effects of TBI, including abnormalities in endocrine, metabolic, renal, and neurocognitive function, as well as cataract formation. There was also liver, skeletal, and cardiac involvement.

“Solid tumors were a rare finding with only one patient developing a benign osteochondroma and no identified secondary malignancies,” the investigators reported

Based on these findings, the following conclusions were made. “Our results, similar to other studies, suggest TBI in patients less than 3 years of age will likely result in multiorgan dysfunction including endocrine, metabolic, renal, eye, and neurocognitive abnormalities. A longitudinal study with standardized testing of these systems would further clarify the late effects concerns in this patient population.”


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