Alterations in hemostasis have frequently been observed in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Thrombotic events are well documented in patients receiving L-asparaginase as a single agent or in combination with other chemotherapeutic drugs. The present prospective, randomized study evaluated the effect of two different L-asparaginase preparations, native Escherichia coli L-asparaginase (Crasnitin; Bayer AG, Leverkusen, Germany; n = 10) and L-asparaginase derived from Erwinia chrysanthemi (Erwinase; Porton Pruducts, London, UK; n = 10) on the changes in parameters concerning hypercoagulability. Patients were randomized to receive a total of eight doses of 10 000 IU/m2 L-asparaginase intravenously with intervals of 3 days during induction therapy. Before starting L-asparaginase treatment all patients had already demonstrated an increased thrombin generation shown by the elevated levels of prothrombin fragment 1+2 and thrombin antithrombin III, presumably due to therapy with prednisone, daunorubicin and vincristine. A significant decrease in α2-antiplasmin and plasminogen levels was measured in the E. coli L-asparaginase but not in Erwinase-treated patients. Increased thrombin generation combined with a decrease in α2-antiplasmin and plasminogen levels may lead to a state of increased risk for thrombosis due to a delay in fibrin elimination in E. coli L-asparaginase-treated patients only.

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Blood Coagulation and Fibrinolysis
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Appel, I., Hop, W., & Pieters, R. (2006). Changes in hypercoagulability by asparaginase: A randomized study between two asparaginases. Blood Coagulation and Fibrinolysis, 17(2), 139–146. doi:10.1097/