Objective This study aimed to elucidate the characteristics and the risk factors for asparaginase-associated pancreatitis (AAP) in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) under the Taiwan Pediatric Oncology Group (TPOG)-ALL regimen. Methods The study was conducted by reviewing the chart records of 191 patients aged 1 to 18 years treated with TPOG-ALL (2002 and 2013) protocols at the National Cheng Kung University Hospital, Tainan, Taiwan, from 2002 to 2019. The disease incidence, clinical presentations, laboratory data, complications, and outcomes of AAP were investigated. Results The incidence of AAP was 4.7%. The incidence was significantly higher in children treated with the TPOG-ALL-2013 (n = 62) than TPOG-ALL-2002 (n = 129) protocol (11.3% vs 1.6%, P = 0.006). Multivariate analysis identified using TPOG-ALL-2013 protocol was an independent risk factor for AAP. Pancreatic necrosis or pseudocysts developed in 7 patients (78%). Notably, 1 AAP case (11%) developed diabetes mellitus and 4 (44%) had chronic pancreatitis during a 1-year observational period. None were mortality. Conclusions The incidence of AAP was 4.7% in ALL patients treated with TPOG-ALL protocol. Although a higher cumulative dose of asparaginase in TPOG-ALL-2013 may attribute to the pancreatic toxicity, unidentified factors such as genetic predisposition or other drugs still need further study.
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