Dexamethasone-induced leukocytosis is associated with poor survival in newly diagnosed glioblastoma
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Despite its well-characterized side effects, dexamethasone is widely used in the pre-, peri- and postoperative neurosurgical setting due to its effective relief of tumor-induced symptoms through the reduction of tumor-associated edema. However, some patients show laboratory-defined dexamethasone induced elevation of white blood cell count, and its impact on glioblastoma progression is unknown. We retrospectively analyzed 113 patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma to describe the incidence, risk factors and clinical features of dexamethasone-induced leukocytosis in primary glioblastoma patients. We further conducted an immunohistochemical analysis of the granulocyte and lymphocyte tumor-infiltration in the available corresponding histological sections. Patient age was identified to be a risk factor for the development of dexamethasone-induced leukocytosis (p < 0.05). The presence of dexamethasone-induced leukocytosis decreased overall survival (HR 2.25 95% CI [1.15–4.38]; p < 0.001) and progression-free survival (HR 2.23 95% CI [1.09–4.59]; p < 0.01). Furthermore, patients with dexamethasone-induced leukocytosis had significantly reduced CD15 + granulocytic- (p < 0.05) and CD3 + lymphocytic tumour infiltration (p < 0.05). We identified a subgroup of glioblastoma patients that are at particularly high risk for poor outcome upon dexamethasone treatment. Therefore, restrictive dosage or other edema reducing substances should be considered in patients with dexamethasone-induced leukocytosis.
KeywordsGlioblastoma Cerebral edema Leukocytosis Survival Tumor-infiltration
The authors would like to thank Mrs. Heibel for data editing, Mrs Starzetz and Mrs Dunst for excellent technical assistance and Mrs. Dr. Hardung for correcting.
This study was funded by Daniel Dubinski is a Else Kröner-Fresenius-Foundation scholar (2013_Kolleg.05).
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