Objective: Scanty data are available about the thyroid function in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) off-therapy patients treated only with chemotherapy. We aimed to assess the prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity and thyroid dysfunction in such patients. Design: Case-control cross-sectional study. Methods: Eighty-four patients diagnosed with ALL and treated only with chemotherapy. Mean age at diagnosis 5.9 +/- 3.6 yr, at recruitment 12.1 +/- 4.3 yr. The treatment had been stopped 4.3 +/- 3.2 yr before recruitment. A control group of 60 subjects was recruited. Free T(4), TSH, anti-thyroperoxidase, and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies were measured. Results: Anti-thyroglobulin and anti-thyroperoxidase antibodies were negative in all patients. TSH was increased in 7 patients (8.3%) and 3 controls (5.0%). Free T(4) was within the normal limits in all patients and controls. Mean TSH and free T(4) levels did not statistically differ between controls and ALL off-therapy patients. TSH was negatively correlated with the age at the diagnosis (p=0.01) and the age at the end of therapy (p=0.008). Anti-thyroglobulin and/or anti-thyroperoxidase antibodies were detected in 3 controls (5%; vs study group: p=0.038), 1 of them with increased TSH. Conclusions: Some patients present hyperthyrotropinemia, without anti-thyroid antibodies, with a prevalence comparable to the control group. The thyroid gland seems more prone to be damaged by chemotherapy at a younger age. We think that a thyroid follow-up in ALL off-therapy patients may be advisable and should be differentiated on the basis of the age at the end of treatment, with more frequent tests for younger patients. (J. Endocrinol. Invest. 33: 135-139, 2010) (C) 2010, Editrice Kurtis
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