Aggravated bone density decline following symptomatic osteonecrosis in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Marissa A.H. den Hoed, Saskia M.F. Pluijm, Mariël L. te Winkel, Hester A. de Groot-Kruseman, Martha Fiocco, Peter Hoogerbrugge, Jan A. Leeuw, Marrie C.A. Bruin, Inge M. van der Sluis, Dorien Bresters, Maarten H. Lequin, Jan C. Roos, Anjo J.P. Veerman, Rob Pieters, Marry M. van den Heuvel-Eibrink

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Osteonecrosis and decline of bone density are serious side effects during and after treatment of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It is unknown whether osteonecrosis and low bone density occur together in the same patients, or whether these two osteogenic side-effects can mutually influence each other’s development. Bone density and the incidence of symptomatic osteonecrosis were prospectively assessed in a national cohort of 466 patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (4-18 years of age) who were treated according to the dexamethasonebased Dutch Child Oncology Group-ALL9 protocol. Bone mineral density of the lumbar spine (BMDLS) (n=466) and of the total body (BMDTB) (n=106) was measured by dual X-ray absorptiometry. Bone density was expressed as age- and gender-matched standard deviation scores. Thirty patients (6.4%) suffered from symptomatic osteonecrosis. At baseline, BMDLS and BMDTB did not differ between patients who did or did not develop osteonecrosis. At cessation of treatment, patients with osteonecrosis had lower mean BMDLS and BMDTB than patients without osteonecrosis (respectively, with osteonecrosis: -2.16 versus without osteonecrosis: -1.21, P<0.01 and with osteonecrosis: -1.73 versus without osteonecrosis: -0.57, P<0.01). Multivariate linear models showed that patients with osteonecrosis had steeper BMDLS and BMDTB declines during follow-up than patients without osteonecrosis (interaction group time, P<0.01 and P<0.01). We conclude that bone density status at the diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia does not seem to influence the occurrence of symptomatic osteonecrosis. Bone density declines from the time that osteonecrosis is diagnosed; this suggests that the already existing decrease in bone density during acute lymphoblastic leukemia therapy is further aggravated by factors such as restriction of weight-bearing activities and destruction of bone architecture due to osteonecrosis. Osteonecrosis can, therefore, be considered a risk factor for low bone density in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1564-1570
Number of pages7
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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