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

Anti-asparaginase antibodies following E. coli asparaginase therapy in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Asparaginase is an effective antileukemic agent and is included in most front-line protocols for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) worldwide; however, allergic reactions to asparaginase may be dose-limiting. We evaluated plasma anti-asparaginase antibody concentrations in a cohort of children with newly diagnosed ALL, who did and who did not exhibit clinical hypersensitivity, after Escherichia coli (E. coli) asparaginase therapy. Thirty-five children who received asparaginase 10000 IU/m2 i.m. three times weekly for nine doses as part of both multiagent induction and reinduction chemotherapy, and seven monthly doses during the first 7 months of continuation treatment, were studied. Twenty-two patients experienced initial allergic reactions to asparaginase during continuation (n=20) or reinduction (n=2) phases and 13 children did not exhibit any reaction. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to measure anti-asparaginase antibodies in plasma samples, diluted 1:3200, using E. coli asparaginase as the antigen. The median anti-asparaginase antibody concentration (OD at 1:3200 dilution) increased from 0.039 at induction to 0.506 at reinduction in patients who exhibited clinical hypersensitivity (P = 0.0002). By comparison, median antibody level increased from 0.011 to 0.032 OD at identical time points in patients who did not react to asparaginase (P = 0.02). Both post-induction and post-reinduction anti-asparaginase antibody levels were higher in reacting than in nonreacting patients (P = 0.004 and P = 0.01, respectively). Antibody levels were inversely related to the time elapsed between the reaction and sampling (P = 0.011). Although anti-asparaginase antibody levels increased from the post-induction plasma sample to the post-reinduction sample in 28 of 35 patients regardless of whether they exhibited clinical hypersensitivity, patients with hypersensitivity reactions had higher antibody levels than did identically treated control patients at comparable time points in therapy. Therefore, antibody analysis may be of clinical value in predicting future hypersensitivity.[1]


  1. Anti-asparaginase antibodies following E. coli asparaginase therapy in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Woo, M.H., Hak, L.J., Storm, M.C., Evans, W.E., Sandlund, J.T., Rivera, G.K., Wang, B., Pui, C.H., Relling, M.V. Leukemia (1998) [Pubmed]
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