Chemotherapy-associated cerebral vasospasm in children with leukemia
Lisa Sun, MD
BACKGROUND: Mechanisms of chemotherapy-associated neurotoxicity are poorly understood, and therefore, prevention strategies have not been developed. We hypothesized that a subgroup of children receiving intrathecal cytarabine develop subclinical vasospasm, which may contribute to long-term neurocognitive sequelae of cancer. METHODS: We used transcranial Doppler ultrasound to serially evaluate cerebral blood flow velocities in participants 25 years old receiving intrathecal cytarabine for hematologic malignancies. RESULTS: Four of 18 participants (22%) met criteria for subclinical vasospasm within 4 days of intrathecal cytarabine administration. The distribution of oncologic diagnoses differed between vasospasm and non-vasospasm groups (p=0.02). Acute myeloid leukemia was identified as a potential risk factor for vasospasm. Children with vasospasm were more likely to have received intravenous cytarabine (75% versus 0%, p=0.01) and less likely to have received steroids (25% versus 100%, p=0.01). CONCLUSIONS: A subpopulation of children with hematologic malignancies develop subclinical vasospasm after intrathecal cytarabine treatment. Future research is needed to determine the long-term clinical consequences of cerebral vasospasm in this population.