[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in children. There was a perception of pediatric neuro-oncologists that the incidence had declined in Canada. An epidemiological survey was undertaken to determine the incidence of this tumor in Canada and if a change had indeed occurred. All patients 14 years and under diagnosed with medulloblastoma from 1990 to 2009 inclusive in Canada were included. Data collected included date of diagnosis, age at diagnosis, gender, stage, pathology, treatment, recurrence and current status. Data were analysed for change in incidence over time. Data were obtained on 574 eligible patients. The mean overall incidence per 1,000,000 persons was 4.82 (95 % CI 4.28-5.35) for the study time period. The mean age at diagnosis was 5.8 years, and there was a male predominance. Although there was an increase in incidence over the first three time periods (24 % for 1990-1994, 27.5 % for 1995-1999, 27.7 % for 2000-2004), the most recent time period (2005-2009) showed a decrease (21 %). This was true for male children while the incidence was stable for females. The mean incidence rate was double for children under the age of 5 years (7.92 per million) compared to those over 5 years (3.64 per million).This study showed that from 1990 to 2009 the incidence of medulloblastoma was relatively stable, with a slight decrease in the last five-year time period.
Journal of Neuro-Oncology 08/2014; · 3.12 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Children with Down syndrome (DS) are at high risk of infectious toxicity when treated with acute lymphoblastic leukemia chemotherapy protocols optimized in children without DS. Our objective was to determine if children with DS and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have a different risk of infection when treated with chemotherapy protocols developed for children with DS compared to AML treatment protocols developed for children without DS.
We conducted a retrospective, population-based cohort study that included DS children <= 18 years of age with de novo, non-M3 AML diagnosed between January 1995 and December 2004, and treated at 15 Canadian centers. Patients were monitored for infection from initiation of AML treatment until recovery from the last cycle of chemotherapy, conditioning for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, relapse, persistent disease or death (whichever occurred first). Trained research associates abstracted all information from each site.
There were 31 children with DS included; median age was 1.7 (range 0.1-11.1) years. Eleven were treated according to a DS-specific protocol while 20 were treated with non-DS specific protocols. A total of 157 courses of chemotherapy were delivered. Microbiologically documented sterile site infection occurred in 11.9% and 14.3% of DS-specific and non-DS specific AML treatment courses respectively. Sepsis was rare and there were no infection-related deaths. In multiple regression, treatment with a DS-specific protocol was independently associated with a reduction in microbiologically documented sterile site infection (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 0.65, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.42-0.99; P = 0.044), and clinically documented infection (adjusted OR 0.36, 95% CI 0.14-0.91; P = 0.031) but not bacteremia (adjusted OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.44-1.22; P = 0.231).
Our study suggests that children with DS do not experience excessive infectious toxicity during treatment for AML compared to children without DS. Incorporation of DS-specific AML treatment protocols is associated with a more favorable infection profile for children with DS-AML.
Infectious Agents and Cancer 12/2013; 8(1):47. · 2.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Viridans group streptococci (VGS) cause significant morbidity in children treated for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Our goals were to determine the occurrence and impact of these infections in children treated for AML and to understand the factors that increase the risk of VGS infections and viridans streptococcal shock syndrome (VSSS) in this population.
We conducted a retrospective, population-based cohort study that included children ≤ 18 years of age with de novo AML treated at 15 Canadian centers. We evaluated factors related to VGS infection and VSSS.
Among 341 children with AML, VGS occurred in 78 (22.9%) children over the entire course of therapy and 16 had recurrent episodes. VGS infection occurred in 97 of 1277 courses of chemotherapy (7.6%). VSSS occurred in 19.6% of these episodes and included 11 patients who required intensive care services with two VGS infections resulting in death. In multiple regression analysis, factors independently related to VGS included treatment on a Medical Research Council-based protocol (odds ratio (OR) 2.87, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.53 to 5.39; P=0.001), cytarabine dose per gram/m (OR 1.04, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.07; P=0.002) and prolonged neutropenia (OR 1.58, 95% CI 0.97 to 2.56; P=0.06). None of the evaluated factors were predictive of VSSS.
VGS infections occur in 7.6% of chemotherapy courses and remain an important cause of morbidity and even mortality in children being treated for AML. Interventions to reduce VGS need to be identified.
The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 09/2013; · 3.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: It is not known whether children with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) have an infection risk similar to non- APL acute myeloid leukemia. The objective was to describe infectious risk in children with newly diagnosed APL and to describe factors associated with these infections. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective, population-based cohort study that included children <= 18 years of age with de novo APL treated at 15 Canadian centers. Thirty-three children with APL were included; 78.8% were treated with APL -specific protocols. RESULTS: Bacterial sterile site infection occurred in 12 (36.4%) and fungal sterile site infection occurred in 2 (6.1%) children. Of the 127 chemotherapy courses, 101 (79.5%) were classified as intensive and among these, the proportion in which a sterile site microbiologically documented infection occurred was 14/101 (13.9%). There was one infection-related death. CONCLUSIONS: One third of children with APL experienced at least one sterile site bacterial infection throughout treatment and 14% of intensive chemotherapy courses were associated with a microbiologically documented sterile site infection. Infection rates in pediatric APL may be lower compared to non- APL acute myeloid leukemia although these children may still benefit from aggressive supportive care during intensive chemotherapy.
BMC Cancer 06/2013; 13(1):276. · 3.32 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prevalence and severity of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has increased over time in adult patients, but little is known about CDI in pediatric cancer. The primary objectives were to describe the incidence and characteristics of CDI in children with de novo acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The secondary objective was to describe factors associated with CDI.
We performed a multicenter, retrospective cohort study of children with de novo AML and evaluated CDI. Recurrence, sepsis and infection-related death were examined. Factors associated with CDI were also evaluated.
Forty-three CDI occurred in 37 of 341 (10.9%) patients during 42 of 1277 (3.3%) courses of chemotherapy. There were 6 children with multiple episodes of CDI. Three infections were associated with sepsis, and no children died of CDI. Only 2 children had an associated enterocolitis. Both days of broad-spectrum antibiotics (odds ratio 1.03, 95% confidence interval: 1.01 to 1.06; P = 0.003) and at least 1 microbiologically documented sterile site infection (odds ratio 10.81, 95% confidence interval: 5.88 to 19.89; P < 0.0001) were independently associated with CDI.
CDI occurred in 11% of children receiving intensive chemotherapy for AML, and outcomes were not severe. CDI is not a prominent issue in pediatric AML in terms of prevalence, incidence or associated outcomes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The primary objective was to describe infectious complications in children with acute myeloid leukemia from presentation to the healthcare system to initiation of chemotherapy and to describe how these infections differ depending on neutropenia.
We conducted a retrospective, population-based cohort study that included children and adolescents with acute myeloid leukemia diagnosed and treated at 15 Canadian centers. We evaluated infections that occurred between presentation to the healthcare system (for symptoms that led to the diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia) until initiation of chemotherapy.
Among 328 children, 92 (28.0%) were neutropenic at presentation. Eleven (3.4%) had sterile-site microbiologically documented infection and four had bacteremia (only one Gram negative). Infection rate was not influenced by neutropenia. No child died from an infectious cause prior to chemotherapy initiation.
It may be reasonable to withhold empiric antibiotics in febrile non-neutropenic children with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia until initiation of chemotherapy as long as they appear well without a clinical focus of infection. Future work could examine biomarkers or a clinical score to identify children presenting with leukemia and fever who are more likely to have an invasive infection.
PLoS ONE 04/2013; 8(4):e61899. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Invasive fungal infections (IFIs) are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in paediatric acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). This study describes risk factors for IFI and IFI-related sepsis in this population. We conducted a population-based, retrospective cohort study of children with AML in Canada. IFIs during chemotherapy and prior to haematopoietic stem cell transplantation, relapse, persistent disease or death were identified. Risk factors for proven or probable IFI were examined. Among courses complicated by IFI, risk factors for sepsis were also evaluated. There were 341 children with AML included of which 41 (12.0%) experienced 46 different episodes of IFI. Candida species accounted for 23 (50.0%) of IFIs and Aspergillus spp. accounted for 14 (30.4%). Days of broad-spectrum antibiotics, days of corticosteroids and neutropenia at start of the course were independently associated with IFI. Only days of fever were independently associated with IFI-related sepsis. Invasive fungal infections occurred in 12.0% of paediatric AML patients. Risk factors for IFI and IFI-related sepsis were identified. This knowledge may help to consider targeted strategies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background. Infection continues to be a major problem for children with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Objectives were to identify factors associated with infection, sepsis, and infectious deaths in children with newly diagnosed AML.Methods. We conducted a retrospective, population-based cohort study that included children ≤18 years of age with de novo, non-M3 AML diagnosed between January 1995 and December 2004, treated at 15 Canadian centers. Patients were monitored for infection from initiation of AML treatment until recovery from the last cycle of chemotherapy, conditioning for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, relapse, persistent disease, or death (whichever occurred first). Consistent trained research associates abstracted all information from each site.Results. 341 patients were included. Median age was 7.1 years (interquartile range [IQR], 2.0-13.5) and 29 (8.5%) had Down syndrome. In sum, 26 (7.6%) experienced death as a first event. There were 1277 courses of chemotherapy administered in which sterile site microbiologically documented infection occurred in 313 courses (24.5%). Sepsis and infectious death occurred in 97 (7.6%) and 16 (1.3%) courses, respectively. The median days of corticosteroid administration was 2 per course (IQR, 0-6). In multiple regression analysis, duration of corticosteroid exposure was significantly associated with more microbiologically documented sterile site infection, bacteremia, fungal infection, and sepsis. The only factor significantly associated with infectious death was days of corticosteroid exposure (odds ratio, 1.05; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.08; P = .001).Conclusions. In pediatric AML, infection, sepsis, and infectious death were associated with duration of corticosteroid exposure. Corticosteroids should be avoided when possible for this population.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumors of the spinal cord are exceedingly rare in infancy and only a paucity of literature exists describing the spectrum of this disease and its management. The objectives of our study were to describe the demographic characteristics of spinal cord tumors (SCT) in children less than 3 years of age at diagnosis and to review their treatment and outcome.
A national retrospective chart review was conducted on patients under the age of 3 years diagnosed with a primary tumor of the central nervous system (CNS) between 1990 and 2005 across Canada. Inclusion criteria were: age ≤ 3 years, histologic confirmation of the diagnosis, and residency in Canada. A centralized database was created and information regarding SCT was extracted.
Twenty-five of five hundred seventy-nine patients (4.3%) in the data bank had a SCT. The majority of tumors were low-grade astrocytomas (14/25). Leptomeningeal dissemination based on neuroradiologic imaging and/or cerebrospinal fluid cytology was present in five (20%) patients. The majority of patients underwent an incomplete surgical resection (52%). Most patients (64%) did not receive postoperative radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Seventy-two percent (18/25) developed recurrent/progression of disease. Overall 2- and 5-year survival for low- and high-grade malignancies was 93 ± 6.4% and 37.5 ± 17.1% respectively. Significant predictors of survival included mean duration of symptoms prior to initial diagnosis and recurrence/progression of disease.
Relapse/progression of disease in infant SCT is frequent. Prolonged survival of low-grade tumors is possible with further therapy; however, the prognosis of high-grade malignancies remains poor.
Child s Nervous System 07/2011; 27(7):1089-94. · 1.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inherited bone marrow failure syndromes (IBMFSs) often have substantial phenotypic overlap, thus genotyping is often critical for establishing a diagnosis.
To determine the genetic characteristics and mutation profiles of IBMFSs, a comprehensive population-based study that prospectively enrols all typical and atypical cases without bias is required. The Canadian Inherited Marrow Failure Study is such a study, and was used to extract clinical and genetic information for patients enrolled up to May 2010.
Among the 259 primary patients with IBMFS enrolled in the study, the most prevalent categories were Diamond-Blackfan anaemia (44 patients), Fanconi anaemia (39) and Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (35). The estimated incidence of the primary IBMFSs was 64.5 per 10(6) births, with Fanconi anaemia having the highest incidence (11.4 cases per 10(6) births). A large number of patients (70) had haematological and non-haematological features that did not fulfil the diagnostic criteria of any specific IBMFS category. Disease-causing mutations were identified in 53.5% of the 142 patients tested, and in 16 different genes. Ten novel mutations in SBDS, RPL5, FANCA, FANCG, MPL and G6PT were identified. The most common mutations were nonsense (31 alleles) and splice site (28). Genetic heterogeneity of most IBMFSs was evident; however, the most commonly mutated gene was SBDS, followed by FANCA and RPS19.
From this the largest published comprehensive cohort of IBMFSs, it can be concluded that recent advances have led to successful genotyping of about half of the patients. Establishing a genetic diagnosis is still challenging and there is a critical need to develop novel diagnostic tools.
Journal of Medical Genetics 06/2011; 48(9):618-28. · 5.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our knowledge of the phenotypes of inherited bone marrow failure syndromes (IBMFSs) derives from case reports or case series in which only one IBMFS was studied. However, the substantial phenotypic overlap necessitates comparative analysis between the IBMFSs. Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS) is an IBMFS that the appreciation of what comprises its clinical phenotype is still evolving. In this analysis we used data on 125 patients from the Canadian Inherited Marrow Failure Study (CIMFS), which is a prospective multicenter population-based study. Thirty-four cases of SDS patients were analyzed and compared to other patients with the four most common IBMFSs on the CIMFS: Diamond Blackfan anemia, Fanconi anemia (FA), Kostmann/severe congenital neutropenia and dyskeratosis congenita (DC). The diagnosis of SDS, FA and DC was often delayed relative to symptoms onset; indicating a major need for improving tools to establish a rapid diagnosis. We identified multiple phenotypic differences between SDS and other IBMFSs, including several novel differences. SBDS biallelic mutations were less frequent than in previous reports (81%). Importantly, compared to patients with biallelic mutations, patients with wild type SBDS had more severe hematological disease but milder pancreatic disease. In conclusion, comprehensive study of the IBMFSs can provide useful comparative data between the disorders. SBDS-negative SDS patients may have more severe hematological failure and milder pancreatic disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Choroid plexus tumors (CPT) are rare pediatric tumors. A population-based study on choroid plexus carcinoma (CPC) and choroid plexus papilloma (CPP) was carried out to describe the incidence, demographic, and outcome data and to identify potential prognostic factors.
The CPT population from the Canadian databank of CNS tumor in children ≤ 36 months diagnosed between 1990 and 2005 was reviewed
Out of the 579 reported cases of CNS tumors, 37 were CPT. The annual age-adjusted incidence rate was 0.22 + 0.12 (95% CI 0.16-0.28)/100,000 children < 3 years. There were 21 (56.7%) CPP and 16 (43.3.5%) CPC. Twenty patients (54%) were males. Median age at diagnosis was 7 months(range 0-30). Ten patients(62.5%) with CPC and one with CPP were metastatic at diagnosis. Twenty patients with CPP (95%) had a complete resection, whereas 6/16 CPC (37.5%) achieved a resection >90%. Fourteen CPC patients received adjuvant chemotherapy. None of the 37 patients received adjuvant radiation. At completion of survey, all CPP and five CPC were alive. Median survival time for CPC patients was 15 months (0-120). One death was related to intraoperative hemorrhage, another to chemotherapy-induced toxicity, and one to secondary AML. Age at diagnosis, degree of resection and metastatic status were not significant prognostic factors for CPC.
By contrast to CPC, CPP have an excellent prognosis following surgery alone. Survival of CPC remains poor. However, these data may suggest adjuvant chemotherapy can alter the aggressive natural history of CPC. As with other rare CNS tumors, international collaboration is required to identify optimal therapy.
Child s Nervous System 02/2011; 27(2):259-64. · 1.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In children under the age of 3, the most common solid tumours are brain tumors. Treatment for many of these patients includes surgery, chemotherapy and rarely radiation therapy. Many clinical trials have been performed in an attempt to establish the best treatment for these patients. Patients enrolled on clinical trials contribute to the establishment of the best therapy. We performed a national survey of all children less than the age of three with brain tumours and examined the contribution these patients made to clinical trials. A data bank was established using data collected from Canadian pediatric oncology centers on children less than age 3 diagnosed with brain tumours between 1990 and 2005. Data were collected on the use of adjunctive treatment after surgery, treatment on a protocol, reasons patients were not registered on a protocol, and reasons for discontinuation of therapy. From the 579 cases in the data bank, 302 (52%) patients were treated with further therapy after surgery. The use of further therapy after surgery was significantly higher in patients with cerebellar and brain stem tumors, patients who were over 1 year of age, patients with ependymal and embryonal tumors, and patients with high grade malignant tumors. Only 62 (21%) patients were enrolled on a protocol for therapy. No factor was significant for being enrolled on a protocol. Reasons for not being registered on a protocol were mainly that there was no open COG/POG/CCG study or the study was not open at the institution. The therapy was stopped because of completion of the protocol in 50% and because of disease progression in 34%. In Canada, about half of children under the age of 36 months with brain tumors are undergoing therapy following surgery for their malignancy but only a small fraction of them are enrolled on a clinical trial. There needs to be improved availability of clinical trials for these patients so that novel therapies can be evaluated and survival improved.
Journal of Neuro-Oncology 02/2010; 99(2):243-9. · 3.12 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Children under the age of 3 with medulloblastoma have an inferior survival to older children with this disease. This study reviewed the incidence, characteristics, therapy, and outcome of children less than 36 months of age diagnosed with medulloblastoma from 1990 to 2005 in Canada. Ninety-six cases were identified with a median age at diagnosis of 19.5 months. Forty-seven percent of patients had a complete resection, 25% a 90-95% near complete resection, 20% an incomplete (10-90%) resection, and 3% biopsy only. Therapy consisted of chemotherapy (90%), high dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue (13%), and radiation therapy (21%). The median survival time was 45 +/- 13.82 months. There was no significant difference in survival when comparing patients with <90% resection versus >90% resection, nor when comparing the presence of metastases versus their absence. There was a significant increase in survival time in patients who received radiation therapy compared to those who were not treated with this modality, as well as for those who were over 18 months at diagnosis compared to those under 18 months.
Journal of Neuro-Oncology 01/2009; 94(1):51-6. · 3.12 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the incidence and characteristics of pediatric patients with central nervous system (CNS) germ cell tumors (GCT) in Canada.
A national retrospective review of hospital charts was done on all patients with CNS GCT diagnosed between 1990 and 2004. Patients had to be under age 18 years at the time of diagnosis of a CNS germ cell tumor and be a resident of Canada. Information extracted included age and year of diagnosis, pathological diagnosis, location of tumor, evidence of disseminated disease at time of diagnosis and biological markers.
One hundred and twenty-one cases were identified (83 germinoma; 38 non-germinoma germ cell tumor). The mean annual incidence of CNS GCT was 1.06 per million children (0.7 per million for germinoma; 0.3 per million for NGGCT). Though yearly incidences varied, there was no clear trend to increased incidence. Male predominance was noted (2.4:1 for germinoma; 11:1 for NGGCT). The primary locations were the pineal and suprasellar regions. At the time of diagnosis, disseminated disease was not uncommon (22% germinoma; 32% NGGCT). Beta human gonadotrophin was elevated in the serum, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or both in 7% of patients with germinoma and 36% of patients with NGGCT. Elevation of alpha-fetoprotein in serum, CSF or both was seen in 34% of patients with NGGCT.
The incidence of CNS germ cell tumors in Canadian children is similar to that observed in other Western countries.
Journal of Neuro-Oncology 06/2007; 82(3):289-95. · 2.79 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inherited bone marrow failure syndromes (IMFSs) are genetic disorders characterized by defective single-lineage or multi-lineage hematopoiesis. IMFS patients are at risk for severe cytopenias, development of marrow cytogenetic abnormalities (MCA), myelodysplasia (MDS), and malignancy. The rate of disease progression and proportion of patients at risk for these complications is currently unclear. We examined recently diagnosed IMFS patients to determine distribution of diagnoses, disease progression and development of significant outcomes.
The CIMFR is a prospective multi-center study established in 2001 to register all IMFS patients in Canada. Analysis was restricted to patients diagnosed after November 30, 1997. Summary statistics were used to depict the study population while survival was described using the Kaplan-Meier method.
74 CIMFR patients were considered recently diagnosed. Median age at diagnosis was 2.7 years (range, birth to 40.6). Annual follow-up data were available for 53 (72%) patients. The five most prevalent diagnoses were Fanconi anemia (FA), Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS), Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA), dyskeratosis congenita (DKC), and Kostmann's neutropenia (KS). Eighteen (24%) patients were unclassifiable. Twenty-eight (53%) follow-up patients had disease progression as indicated by new or worsening cytopenias, new marrow changes, or initiation of transfusion support and/or medical therapy. Fourteen (19%) fulfilled minimal diagnostic criteria for myelodysplasia. Eleven patients had hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) by first follow-up. Five patients have died. Survival at 36 months is 89.8 +/- 5.7%.
IMFS patients are often diagnosed at a young age. The relative distribution of diagnoses is similar to previous reviews of published cases; however, 25% of patients are currently unclassifiable. Disease progression has occurred in approximately 50% of follow-up patients. Early mortality is noted. Continued prospective observation of these patients is warranted.
Pediatric Blood & Cancer 01/2007; 47(7):918-25. · 2.56 Impact Factor