Consensus definitions of 14 severe acute toxic effects for childhood lymphoblastic leukaemia treatment: a Delphi consensus

on behalf of the Ponte di Legno toxicity working group

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

180 Scopus citations


Although there are high survival rates for children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, their outcome is often counterbalanced by the burden of toxic effects. This is because reported frequencies vary widely across studies, partly because of diverse definitions of toxic effects. Using the Delphi method, 15 international childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia study groups assessed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia protocols to address toxic effects that were to be considered by the Ponte di Legno working group. 14 acute toxic effects (hypersensitivity to asparaginase, hyperlipidaemia, osteonecrosis, asparaginase-associated pancreatitis, arterial hypertension, posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, seizures, depressed level of consciousness, methotrexate-related stroke-like syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, high-dose methotrexate-related nephrotoxicity, sinusoidal obstructive syndrome, thromboembolism, and Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia) that are serious but too rare to be addressed comprehensively within any single group, or are deemed to need consensus definitions for reliable incidence comparisons, were selected for assessment. Our results showed that none of the protocols addressed all 14 toxic effects, that no two protocols shared identical definitions of all toxic effects, and that no toxic effect definition was shared by all protocols. Using the Delphi method over three face-to-face plenary meetings, consensus definitions were obtained for all 14 toxic effects. In the overall assessment of outcome of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia treatment, these expert opinion-based definitions will allow reliable comparisons of frequencies and severities of acute toxic effects across treatment protocols, and facilitate international research on cause, guidelines for treatment adaptation, preventive strategies, and development of consensus algorithms for reporting on acute lymphoblastic leukaemia treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e231-e239
JournalThe Lancet Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


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