Pharmacokinetics of Chemotherapeutic Drugs in Pediatric Patients With Down Syndrome and Leukemia

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Abstract

Children with Down syndrome (DS) have a 10- to 30-fold increased risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia or acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Patients with DS and leukemia are treated with the same chemotherapeutic agents as patients without DS. Treatment regimens for pediatric leukemia comprise multiple cytotoxic drugs including methotrexate, doxorubicin, vincristine, cytarabine, and etoposide. There have been reports of increased toxicity, as well as altered therapeutic outcomes in pediatric patients with DS and leukemia. This review is focused on the pharmacokinetics of cytotoxic drugs in pediatric patients with leukemia and DS. The available literature suggests that methotrexate and thioguanine display altered pharmacokinetic parameters in pediatric patients with DS. It has been hypothesized that the variable pharmacokinetics of these drugs may contribute to the increased incidence of treatment-related toxicities seen in DS. Data from a small number of studies suggest that the pharmacokinetics of vincristine, etoposide, doxorubicin, and busulfan are similar between patients with and without DS. Definitive conclusions regarding the pharmacokinetics of cytotoxic drugs in pediatric patients with leukemia and DS are difficult to reach due to limitations in the available studies.

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