The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between body composition, metabolic profile, adipokines, and carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) in young survivors of childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL).
This cross-sectional study compared 55 ALL survivors, of chronological age between 15 years and 24 years, assigned into two groups according to the exposure to cranial radiation therapy (CRT; 25 irradiated and 30 nonirradiated) with 24 leukemia-free controls, and assessed body fat mass (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), computed tomography scan-derived abdominal adipose tissue, lipid profile, blood pressure (BP), adipokines, and cIMT by a multiple regression analysis.
Treatment with CRT had an effect on all of the variables derived from the computed tomography scan: visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) (P<0.050). In a multiple linear regression model, cIMT positively correlated with exposure to CRT (P=0.029), diastolic BP (P=0.016), and leptin-to-adiponectin ratio (P=0.048), while negatively related to SAT (P=0.007).
In young survivors of childhood ALL, CRT modified the distribution of fat and played a critical role in determining cIMT. Leptin-to-adiponectin ratio, a biomarker of abdominal obesity and metabolic syndrome, and diastolic BP also influenced cIMT, a marker of subclinical atherosclerosis. Nonetheless, adiposity-associated vascular disease might be attenuated by SAT. Changes in body fat must be evaluated in this group of patients in the early course of survivorship in order to avoid premature cardiovascular disease associated with atherosclerosis. Yet, further research as regards the possible protective effect of SAT on vascular disease is warranted.