Therapy-related changes in body size in hispanic children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Jacques Baillargeon, Anne Marie Langevin, Margaret Lewis, James J. Grady, Paul J. Thomas, Judith Mullins, Jaime Estrada, Aaron Pitney, Nancy Sacks, Brad H. Pollock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. The objective of this study was to examine changes over time in body mass index (BMI) from diagnosis through chemotherapy for pediatric patients with B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). METHODS. The study cohort consisted of 141 white Hispanic pediatric patients who were diagnosed with ALL and were treated at 2 South Texas pediatric oncology centers between 1993 and 2002. Changes in age-standardized and gender-standardized BMI scores were assessed. RESULTS. The study cohort exhibited a steady increase in age-adjusted and gender-adjusted BMI scores for the first 12 months of therapy, a modest increase in BMI scores during the 18-23 month and 24-29 month periods, followed by a slight decrease in BMI scores at 30 months (end of therapy). A repeated-measures analysis indicated significant effects for time (P = 0.019) and time by baseline BMI category interaction (P = 0.0001) but no significant interaction effect between time and gender (P = 0.65). CONCLUSIONS. Although it is known that leukemia therapy is associated with prevalent obesity in survivorship, its pattern of development during therapy has not been elucidated. In the current cohort of Hispanic children with ALL, BMI scores were elevated at diagnosis (mean ± standard deviation standardized BMI Z score, 0.33 ± 1.4), then increased, and remained elevated for the entire duration of chemotherapy. Patients who were classified as normal weight exhibited an increase in BMI over time; patients who were classified as overweight at diagnosis exhibited BMI patterns that were relatively stable; and patients who were classified as obese exhibited a very slight decline over time. These findings suggest that the risk for chemotherapy-related weight gain applies predominantly to children who begin ALL therapy within a normal weight range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1725-1729
Number of pages5
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Body mass index
  • Cancer risk
  • Hispanic
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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