The optimal use of steroids in paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: No easy answers

  • McNeer J
  • Nachman J
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Glucocorticoids are an integral component of therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), but usage differs between cooperative group protocols. All groups use glucocorticoids during induction but vary on whether to use dexamethasone or prednisone. Issues to consider in the choice of induction steroid include impact on event-free and overall survival, acute morbidity such as infection risk, diabetes, and behavioural disturbances and long-term complications such as avascular necrosis. It is generally agreed that dexamethasone is the steroid of choice for groups using a delayed intensification phase, but dosing schedules (intermittent versus continuous) vary. There is no consensus on the potential benefit of steroid administration during maintenance therapy. This review will summarize the current available data on steroid use in paediatric ALL, highlighting outcomes as well as major toxicities.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
  • Avascular necrosis
  • Dexamethasone
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Prednisone

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  • Jennifer L. McNeer

  • James B. Nachman

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