Future Risks childhood brain tumor survivors

New research shows long-term childhood brain tumor (CBT) survivors are at risk for serious medical problems later in life such as endocrine and cardiovascular diseases even years after successful brain tumor treatment.

In a long-term study of 1,607 CBT survivors, researchers from the University of Minnesota investigated the risk of endocrine and cardiovascular disease among survivors by comparing them to 3,418 siblings. Treatment information was collected from medical records and a follow-up questionnaire, which was completed by participants who had survived for five or more years after their treatment. Information on demographics, health, and medical conditions were gathered from the questionnaire. Researchers found 43 percent of CBT survivors had one or more endocrine conditions and 18 percent had one or more cardiovascular problems. Survivors who received chemotherapy with radiation and surgery had the greatest risk for developing endocrine and cardiovascular problems when compared to those survivors who received surgery and radiation alone. Researchers found surgery alone to be associated with the lowest number of adverse outcomes.

Survivors who had chemotherapy with radiation and surgery were also found to be at an increased risk for hypothyroidism, growth hormone deficiency, osteoporosis, medication to induce puberty, stroke, blood clots, and chest pain symptoms when compared to radiation with surgery. When compared with siblings, CBT survivors were more likely to develop hypothyroidism, growth hormone deficiencies, require medications to induce puberty, and osteoporosis five years or more after treatment, no matter what treatment they received. They were also more likely to have stroke, blood clots, and chest pain symptoms linked to cardiovascular disease.

SOURCE: CANCER, 2003;97:663-673

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