The prevalence and significance of liver involvement at diagnosis was studied in pediatric acute lymphoblastic (ALL) and myeloid leukemia (AML).
A population based cohort of 122 pre B-ALL, 22 T-ALL and 45 AML patients was formed from the Nordic Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology leukemia registries (years 2005–2017). Hepatomegaly, elevated alanine aminotransferase, high INR, hypoalbuminemia and conjugated hyperbilirubinemia at diagnosis were used as markers for liver involvement. Minimal residual disease (MRD), time to relapse and overall survival (OS) were correlated with liver involvements.
The pattern of liver involvement was significantly different between leukemia subtypes (P = 0.025). The proportion of patients without liver abnormalities was 50.0% in AML and 44.8% in pre B-ALL and 23.5% in T-ALL patients. Hepatomegaly characterized lymphatic leukemia being present in 41.8% and 58.8% of pre B- and T-ALL patients. Liver dysfunction was most common in AML (29.5%) and least frequent in pre B-ALL (7.4%,) (P = 0.001). Conjugated hyperbilirubinemia was present in less than 5% of patients. Hepatomegaly correlated positively with age in pre B-ALL (P = 0.036) and white blood cell count (WBC) in AML (P = 0.010). Hepatic dysfunction was related with high WBC in pre B-ALL (P = 0.037) and AML (P = 0.001). Liver involvement in patients with ALL was not associated with toxicity or outcome. Patients with AML without liver involvement demonstrated superior OS.
Liver involvement is frequent at diagnosis in pediatric leukemia and its prevalence is related with leukemia subtype, age and WBC. In AML, but not in ALL, it associates with suboptimal prognosis.