Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in childhood is a serious disease that can affect growth and the attainment of maximal peak bone mass. The latter has recently been recognized as a risk factor for the development of osteoporosis later in life. To determine long-term effects of the disease itself and its treatment, we assessed the bone status of a group of long-term survivors of childhood ALL, all treated with high doses of steroids (dexamethasone) and methotrexate and without cranial irradiation. All 21 subjects enrolled in this cross-sectional study were diagnosed to have non-high-risk precursors acute lymphoblastic leukemia (12 boys and 9 girls, mean age 16.5 yr, range 12.2-25.4 yr). Standard deviation (SD) scores were calculated using a tibial ultrasound device and spinal dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) device as bone assessment techniques. SD scores of those two different bone assessment techniques were compared. The mean SOS (speed of sound) SD scores (SDS) of the tibia (mean 0.26, standard deviation [sd] 1.00) were not significantly different from our reference value of 0. There was no significant difference between the SOS SDS in boys and girls. With DXA, no significant difference was seen between the mean BMD SDS and the reference data and no significant difference in BMD between boys and girls was found. The individual mean SDS for bone mineral density (BMD) of lumbar spine are 0.24 (sd 1.02), total body 0.17 (sd 1.00), and apparent BMD (BMAD) 0.07 (sd 1.09). Spearman's correlation between mean SOS SDS and mean BMD of lumbar spine was 0.47, mean SOS SDS and mean BMAD SDS was 0.43, and mean SOS SDS and mean BMD of total body was 0.49. These correlations were significant at the 0.05 level (two tailed). Despite high-dose dexamethasone and methotrexate used for treatment of these children with ALL, no long-term side effects on the bone mineral status of the subjects, measured with DXA or tibial ultrasonometry, could be determined.

Children, Densitometry, DXA, Leukemia, Tibia, Ultrasound,
Journal of Clinical Densitometry
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Lequin, M.H, van der Sluis, I.M, van Rijn, R.R, Hop, W.C.J, van den Heuvel-Eibrink, M.M, de Muinck Keizer-Schrama, S.M.P.F, & van Kuijk, C. (2002). Bone mineral assessment with tibial ultrasonometry and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in long-term survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in childhood. Journal of Clinical Densitometry, 5(2), 167–173. doi:10.1385/JCD:5:2:167