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No Role for Cerebrospinal Fluid Myelin Basic Protein Levels in Patients Treated for Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Diezi, Manuel MD; Garcia, Emma MD; Weid, Nicolas von der MD, PD, MER; Beck-Popovic, Maja MD, PD, MER

Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology: June 2009 - Volume 31 - Issue 6 - p 393-397
doi: 10.1097/MPH.0b013e31819d1807
Original Articles

Introduction Central nervous system prophylaxis of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia has dropped rates of relapses but has been associated with neurotoxicity and imaging abnormalities. Predictors of neurotoxicity are lacking, because of inconsistency between clinical symptoms and imaging. Some have suggested that cerebrospinal fluid myelin basic protein (MBP) levels to be of potential interest. A retrospective analysis of MBP levels in correlation with clinical and radiologic data is presented.

Materials and Methods MBP levels obtained at the time of intrathecals, charts, and neuroradiology reports were retrospectively analyzed. Academic achievement data were obtained from phone contacts with patients and families.

Results We retrieved 1248 dosages of MBP in 83 patients, 381 neurologic examinations in 34 patients and 69 neuroradiologic investigations in 27 patients. Fifty-two patients had abnormal MBP levels. Radiologic anomalies were present in 47% of those investigated, 14% of them having school difficulties. Proportions of patients with school difficulties in the groups with abnormal MBP levels but no radiologic anomalies or with no radiologic investigations were 0% and 3%, respectively, which was lower than in the group of patients with normal MBP levels (100%, 22%, and 5%, respectively).

Discussion Notwithstanding the retrospective character of our study, we conclude that there is limited usefulness of systematic dosage of MBP as indicator of treatment-induced neurotoxicity in acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients.

Hematology-Oncology Unit, Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland

Reprints: Manuel Diezi, MD, Hematology-Oncology Unit, Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland (e-mail:

Received for publication July 11, 2008; accepted January 17, 2009

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.