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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19-28

Neuropsychological functioning in long-term survivors of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia: A prospective cross-sectional study


1 Department of Psycho-Oncology, Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Medical Oncology and Pediatric Oncology, Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Surendran Veeraiah
Department of Psycho Oncology, Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/CRST.CRST_278_20

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Background: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common childhood cancer. Given the improvement in the survival of patients with ALL over the last few decades, the adverse effects of treatment and disease on survivors have become a major concern. Neuropsychological functioning has been reported to be affected in long-term survivors of ALL and can impact their quality of life. Objective: The objective of the study was to assess the neuropsychological functioning of long-term survivors of pediatric ALL. Materials and Methods: This prospective cross-sectional study was conducted at the Cancer Institute, Chennai, India, between March and August 2014. Pediatric patients with ALL who had survived at least 2 years after treatment and were in remission were included in the study. Various neuropsychological domains such as sustained attention, focused attention, verbal working memory, immediate memory, verbal learning, immediate recall, delayed recall, visuoconstructive ability, and visuomotor speed were assessed using age-appropriate tests. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and nonparametric tests such as the Mann–Whitney U and Kruskal–Wallis H-tests. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Of the 51 participants, there were 30 male and 21 female survivors. Their median ages at diagnosis and assessment were 8.6 years and 18.3 years, respectively. Adult survivors (n = 31) were found to have deficits in immediate memory, verbal learning, immediate recall, visuoconstructive ability, and visuomotor speed. Adolescent survivors (n = 20) were found to have deficits in immediate memory and verbal working memory. Survivors aged 8 years or more at diagnosis had better focused attention and verbal working memory, while those diagnosed at age <8 years had better visuoconstructive ability. Those with longer survival had better verbal working memory. Conclusions: Long-term survivors of pediatric ALL experience deficits in various neuropsychological functions. Adult survivors have deficits in immediate memory, visuoconstructive ability, verbal learning, immediate recall, and visuomotor speed, whereas adolescent survivors have deficits in immediate memory and verbal working memory.


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