Cerebral haemorrhage in long-term survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
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Modern treatment of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) has dramatically improved the prognosis for children with this disease. Therapeutic approaches consist of multimodal chemotherapy and radiotherapy with significant long-term side-effects. We report on 4 children out of a group of 120 newly diagnosed patients with ALL, who survived the disease for more than 2 years and developed a cerebral haemorrhage after chemotherapy and fractionated cranial irradiation. Following a period of 2–12 years the four children presented with acute neurological signs and symptoms, i.e. seizures, ataxia and hemiparesis. CT and MRI revealed intracerebral mass lesions, interpreted as haemorrhage. After neurosurgery the patients neurological state improved. Histological examination confirmed the suspected diagnosis of bleeding cavernous haemangioma or capillary telangiectases. There are two possibilities to explain these rare alterations: they may be pre-existent to the disease and therapy or they may be caused by irradiation.
Conclusion Acute neurological symptoms in patients treated for ALL may be caused by spontaneous cerebral haemorrhaging of cavernous haemangiomas or capillary telangiectases induced by chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.
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