Liver function test abnormalities were examined in a retrospective survey in a population of 90 children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) treated in a similar fashion with therapy, using primarily methotrexate, mercaptopurine, vincristine, and prednisone. A twofold or greater elevation of serum glutamyl pyruvic transaminase (SGPT) was found in 80% of the patients during induction therapy, in 63% of the patients during maintenance therapy, and 31% of the patients who completed therapy. Circulating hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) was noted in 26% of patients with liver function test abnormalities during maintenance therapy, and 45% of patients with liver function test abnormalities after the completion of therapy. Hepatitis B virus infection was therefore, the most important single cause of abnormal liver function during remission in our patient population. Though others have asserted that hepatitis B virus infection is relatively benign in immunosuppressed individuals, in our population, this agent often caused severe pathological and clinical sequelae. This may be related to the high frequency (50%) of co‐infection with the delta agent in our HBsAg‐positive patients. Furthermore, hepatitis B virus surface antigenemia conferred an adverse prognostic influence for these children in terms of their leukemia‐free survival. Cancer 58:1096‐1100, 1986.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1096-1100
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 1986


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