May 1987

Comparable Effects of 1800- and 2400-rad (18- and 24-Gy) Cranial Irradiation on Height and Weight in Children Treated for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(5):550-552. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460050092038

• To examine the effects of "lowdose" cranial irradiation on growth and to determine if one can predict patients in whom growth will be most affected, we studied 47 children with acute lymphocytic leukemia who had been treated with 2400 rad (24 Gy), 1800 rad (18 Gy), or no whole-brain irradiation. Serial measurements of height, weight, and weight for height were obtained by retrospective chart review. The effects of 1800 rad (18 Gy) and 2400 rad (24 Gy) treatment were indistinguishable. Height percentiles among Irradiated patients decreased by a mean of 12% six months after diagnosis, and growth generally did not catch up. Moreover, although 33 irradiated patients maintained heights within the normal range, in 11 patients (33%) a dramatic falloff occurred such that by three years following diagnosis their height for age was more than 30 percentiles below the original value. These patients were all identifiable at six months since their height percentiles had already decreased by more than 15%. Although weight percentiles did not change following irradiation, the weight-for-height ratio increased and patients were relatively stockier three years after therapy than they had been at diagnosis. In patients who had received chemotherapy alone, the weight-for-height ratio also increased, but this appeared to be due to a disproportionate Increase in weight. Longer follow-up and evaluation of larger cohorts of patients treated with 1800 rad (18 Gy) will be needed to confirm these results.

(AJDC 1987;141:550-552)