Objective: Anthracyclines are widely used in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). However, cardiotoxicity is the most critical side effect that requires dose limitation. It is thought to occur at first exposure, but the clinical presentation may occur years later. In this study, we aimed to determine the time of initial damage and cardiotoxicity that develops in children with ALL.
Methods: In this prospective study, 13 patients with newly diagnosed intermediate-risk precursor B cell ALL treated with the ALL-IC BFM 2009 protocol were included. Conventional echocardiography, tissue Doppler imaging (TDI), and speckle-tracking echocardiography (STE) were performed in all the patients before chemotherapy, after completing the induction phase, and at the end of the reinduction phase.
Results: The mean age of the patients was 7.8±4.6 (3.116.3) years. Myocardial velocity during systole (Sm) determined by TDI at the interventricular septum significantly decreased during the induction phase. Despite a decrease in STE parameters, a statistically significant reduction was determined in the global longitudinal strain rate at both left and right ventricles at the end of the induction. Nevertheless, a statistically significant increase was observed among the conventional echocardiographic findings in the left ventricular end-diastolic diameter at the end of the reinduction.
Conclusion: During the treatment of ALL, subclinical anthracycline-associated cardiotoxicity develops in the early stages of treatment. The findings detected by TDI and STE could be missed by conventional echocardiography. We recommend evaluating patients with these newly developed techniques to detect subclinical cardiotoxicity at an early stage and starting appropriate therapy on time.