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The concurrent occurrence of Leishmania chagasi infection and childhood acute leukemia in Brazil

By Gisele Moledo de Vasconcelos, Fernanda Azevedo-Silva, Luiz Claudio dos Santos Thuler, Eugênia Terra Granado Pina, Celeste S.F. Souza, Katia Calabrese and Maria S. Pombo-de-Oliveira


Objective: This study investigated the co-existence of Leishmania chagasi infection and childhood leukemia in patients naïve to treatment; this has serious clinical and epidemiological implications. Methods: The seroprevalence of L. chagasi antibodies prior to any treatment was investigated in children with clinical features of acute leukemia. Serological tests were performed in 470 samples drawn from under 14-year-old children from different regions of Brazil with clinical suspicion of acute leukemia. Acute leukemia subtypes were characterized by immunophenotyping using flow cytometry. Morphological analyses of bone marrow aspirates were systematically performed to visualize blast cells and/or the formation of L. chagasi amastigotes. Data analysis used a standard univariate procedure and the Pearson's chi-square test. Results: The plasma of 437 children (93%) displayed antibodies against L. chagasi by indirect immunofluorescence assay and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay tests. Of the 437 patients diagnosed from 2002 to 2006, 254 had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, 92 had acute myeloid leukemia, and 91 did not have acute leukemia. The seroprevalence of L. chagasi antibodies according to the indirect immunofluorescence assay test (22.5%) was similar in children with or without acute leukemia (p-value = 0.76). The co-existence of visceral leishmanasis and acute leukemia was confirmed in 24 children. The overall survival of these children was poor with a high death rate during the first year of leukemia treatment. Conclusion: In the differential diagnosis of childhood leukemia, visceral leishmanasis should be considered as a potential concurrent disease in regions where L. chagasi is endemic

Topics: Visceral leishmaniasis, Brazil, Lymphoid leukemia, Myeloid leukemia, Diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs, RC633-647.5
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.bjhh.2014.07.013
OAI identifier: oai:doaj.org/article:e2c130d98e2d4a76afcd1272a837a8f7
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