Background: Inadequate myelosuppression during maintenance therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is associated with an increased risk of relapse. One mechanism is skewed metabolism of 6-mercaptopurine (6MP), a major component of maintenance therapy, which results in preferential formation of the hepatotoxic metabolite (6-methyl mercaptopurine [6MMP]) with low levels of the antileukemic metabolite, 6-thioguanine nucleotides (6TGN). Allopurinol can modify 6MP metabolism to favor 6TGN production and reduce 6MMP. Methods: Patients in maintenance were considered for allopurinol treatment who had the following features: (a) Grade ≥3 hepatotoxicity; (b) Grade ≥2 nonhepatic gastrointestinal (GI) toxicity; or (c) persistently elevated absolute neutrophil count (ANC) despite >150% protocol dosing of oral chemotherapy. Results: From 2013 to 2017, 13 ALL patients received allopurinol: nine for hepatotoxicity, five for inadequate myelosuppression, and three for nonhepatic GI toxicity (four met multiple criteria). Allopurinol was well tolerated, without significant adverse events. Allopurinol resulted in a significant decrease in the average 6MMP/6TGN ratio (mean reduction 89.1, P =.0001), with a significant increase in 6TGN (mean 550.4, P =.0008) and a significant decrease in 6MMP (mean 13 755, P =.0013). Patients with hepatotoxicity had a significant decrease in transaminase elevation after starting allopurinol (alanine transaminase [ALT] mean decrease 22.1%, P =.02), and all with nonhepatic GI toxicity had improved symptoms. Those with inadequate myelosuppression had a significant increase in the time with ANC in goal (mean increase 26.4%, P =.0004). Conclusions: Allopurinol during ALL maintenance chemotherapy is a safe, feasible, and effective intervention for those who have altered metabolism of 6MP causing toxicity or inadequate myelosuppression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health