Clinical Research Papers:

Skeletal abnormalities detected by SPECT is associated with increased relapse risk in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Fen Zhou _, Meiling Zhang, Juan Han, Jinjin Hao, Yan Xiao, Qin Liu, Runming Jin and Heng Mei

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:79347-79355. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18110

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Fen Zhou1,2, Meiling Zhang1,2, Juan Han1,2, Jinjin Hao1,2, Yan Xiao1,2, Qin Liu1,2, Runming Jin1,2, Heng Mei2

1 Department of Pediatrics, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China

2 Institute of Hematology, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China

Correspondence to:

Runming Jin, email:

Heng Mei, email:

Keywords: skeletal abnormalities, SPECT, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, relapse

Received: July 26, 2016 Accepted: May 08, 2017 Published: May 23, 2017


Objectives: Most children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) exhibit skeletal abnormalities. This study aimed to investigate bone lesions detected by whole-body bone single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and its prognostic value in children with ALL.

Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed using whole-body bone SPECT scans obtained from children with ALL in our department between June 2008 and June 2012. A total of 166 children newly diagnosed with ALL were included, and the patients were divided into two groups: patients with positive and negative SPECT scans. We compared the clinical characteristics of the two groups and analyzed the relationship between the skeletal abnormalities detected by SPECT and prognosis.

Results: Among the 166 patients, bone scintigraphic abnormalities was detected by SPECT scan in sixty-four patients (38.6%). The most common site was the limbs. There were no significant differences in age, gender, WBC count at diagnosis, risk group and minimal residual disease (MRD) level between SPECT-positive patients and their SPECT-negative counterparts. The event-free and overall survival rates were higher in SPECT-positive patients, but the difference was not statistically significant. However, patients with positive SPECT scans, especially those with multifocal abnormalities (≥3 sites), had a higher rate of relapse (P < 0.05). Multivariate analyses identified that abnormal SPECT scan (HR = 3.547, P = 0.015) was an independent relapse risk.

Conclusion: Children with ALL and multiple skeletal abnormalities will suffer from relapse. Abnormal SPECT scan was associated with increased relapse risk which might be a potential relapse marker for ALL children.

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