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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Antithrombin treatment of severe hepatic veno-occlusive disease in children with cancer.

Hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) is a well-known complication of chemotherapy in Wilms tumor patients, particularly young children. Although this complication resolves uneventfully in most patients, fatal cases have been reported. Severe VOD after transplantation has a high mortality rate ranging from 45% to 98%. New hemostatic therapeutic strategies have significantly improved the prognosis of VOD. Chemotherapy-related VOD in Wilms tumor usually has a good prognosis. We describe two patients with Wilms tumor and one with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, who developed severe veno-occlusive disease of the liver according to the Baltimore criteria while undergoing chemotherapy; the symptoms were hepatomegaly, ascites, hyperbilirubinemia, weight gain and, in one patient, short-term lethargy. Elevated LDH levels of 872 to 12,000 U/l were observed in our patients. All patients had thrombocytopenia between 29,000 and 40,000/microl and decreased antithrombin (AT) and protein C levels; two patients had gastrointestinal bleeding. All patients developed a coagulopathy because of severe hepatic dysfunction. Two patients received low-dose heparin at the onset of VOD. The thrombolytic therapy was rapidly changed to AT supplementation (20-80 IU/kg bw 2x per day) without heparin when thrombocytes were very low or gastrointestinal bleeding occurred. Resolution of VOD was observed in all patients receiving AT alone. The chemotherapy was discontinued in a patient with accidental actinomycin D overdosage in view of the severity of symptoms. The remaining two patients received chemotherapy according to the therapy protocol after restitution. All patients survived without sequelae with a median follow-up of 28 months (range 8-48 months). CONCLUSION: Hepatic veno-occlusive disease is a rare but increasingly recognized complication in pediatric cancer patients receiving conventional chemotherapy. AT supplementation constitutes a good alternative treatment of severe VOD in comparison with other thrombolytic therapies, particularly in patients at high risk of bleeding.[1]


  1. Antithrombin treatment of severe hepatic veno-occlusive disease in children with cancer. Mertens, R., Brost, H., Granzen, B., Nowak-Göttl, U. Eur. J. Pediatr. (1999) [Pubmed]
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