Acid-suppressing Drugs and a Low 1 Level of Antithrombin as Risk Factors for L-Asparaginase-associated Pancreatitis: A Case-control Study in the Japan Association of Childhood Leukemia Study (JACLS)

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L-Asparaginase has significantly improved outcome for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and has become an essential component of multiagent chemotherapy. However, there are many adverse events due to L-asparaginase, including acute pancreatitis. The pathology of L-asparaginase-associated pancreatitis (AAP) remains unclear. We compared patients who developed AAP (n=29) and random matched controls (n=36) who had been enrolled in the Japan Association of Childhood Leukemia Study of the ALL-02 protocol. AAP and control patients were matched for age, sex, treatment, and protocol risk. We examined correlations between AAP development and clinical symptoms, laboratory data, and concomitant medication. Abdominal pain and nausea were common presenting symptoms for AAP. There was an increased risk of AAP in patients using gastric acid-suppressing agents and antithrombin (AT) supplementation. Mean fibrinogen and AT levels before the onset of AAP were lower in AAP patients than in controls. Decreased AT and fibrinogen levels resulting from the strong suppression of protein synthesis by L-asparaginase were predictive signs for AAP. Our epidemiological approach should prove clinically useful for the diagnosis the AAP as early as possible.

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