To review all studies providing evidence of the correlation between folinic acid (FA) rescue inadequacy and long-term cognitive damage in neuropsychological studies of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia or osteogenic sarcoma treated under protocols using high-dose methotrexate and FA rescue.
A comprehensive literature search was performed of all databases of the Web of Science Citation Index, during 1990–2020, for the terms: neuropsychological, neurocognitive, and cognitive, together with acute lymphoblastic (and lymphocytic) leukemia and osteogenic sarcoma. English-language peer-reviewed articles on neuropsychological assessments of children who had been treated with high-dose methotrexate without irradiation, and which included details of methotrexate and FA schedules, were selected. In addition, a personal database of over 500 reprints of articles from over 130 journals was reviewed on the subjects of methotrexate and FA and their side effects.
Three groups of studies were found and analyzed, with (1) no evidence of cognitive deterioration, (2) evidence of cognitive deterioration, and (3) more than 1 protocol grouped together, preventing separate analysis of any protocols, Protocols without cognitive deterioration reported adequate FA rescue, and those with cognitive deterioration reported inadequate FA rescue.
Neuropsychological evaluation supported inadequate FA being the cause of neurocognitive damage after high-dose methotrexate and that adequate FA rescue prevents this complication.