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Childhood Leukemia May Increase Insulin Resistance

Last Updated: June 30, 2009.

Survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia are at increased risk of insulin resistance in adulthood compared to their peers, according to a study published online June 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

TUESDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia are at increased risk of insulin resistance in adulthood compared to their peers, according to a study published online June 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Kevin C. Oeffinger, M.D., of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues conducted a study of 118 acute lymphoblastic leukemia survivors who ranged in age from 18 to 37 years, and who were compared with a cohort of 30- to 37-year-olds.

Using the homeostasis model for assessment of insulin resistance, female acute lymphoblastic leukemia survivors who had been treated with cranial radiotherapy (CRT) had a mean resistance of 4.6 versus 2.4 for the female control group, while male acute lymphoblastic leukemia survivors treated with CRT had a mean resistance of 4.0, compared to 2.3 for the male control group, the investigators found. Of the women in the survivor group who were treated with CRT, 80 percent had three or more of the six cardiovascular disease risk factors and were significantly more likely than the control women to have at least three of the risk factors, the researchers found.

"Acute lymphoblastic leukemia survivors, regardless of sex and therapy, have an increased prevalence of insulin resistance. Further, women treated with cranial radiotherapy have a substantially increased prevalence of various cardiovascular disease risk factors," the authors write. "Close monitoring and interventions aimed at reducing cardiovascular risk in survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia are warranted."

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