Tumor Lysis Syndrome Incidence Over 20 Percent, Say Researchers

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According to a presentation at last month's meeting of the American Society of Hematology, the potentially fatal condition known as tumor lysis syndrome is more common in certain cancers and appears to occur in almost 10 percent of patients treated within one week of diagnosis of a new cancer.

In tumor lysis syndrome (TLS), a massive amount of cancer cells die—either spontaneously or from otherwise successful anticancer medical treatment. When this happens, their contents spill into circulation, throwing blood chemistry levels into chaos by overloading the bloodstream with potassium, phosphate, and uric acid. The consequence can be lethal cardiac arrhythmias and/or renal failure.

Researchers from New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y. did a retrospective analysis of patients with blood cancers and found that tumor lysis syndrome occurred in 21 percent of patients, most often in both leukemias and multiple myeloma.

The incidence of tumor lysis syndrome in other cancers, specifically esophageal cancer and liver cancer where it was found to be the highest, was between 4 and 8 percent.

This retrospective analysis involved almost 32,000 patients in the Henry Ford Health System diagnosed with a new cancer between 2000 and 2011. The researchers found 951 patients who had begun chemotherapy treatment within seven days of being diagnosed, had no history of tumor lysis syndrome, no history of gout and had a one-year follow-up.

No incidences of tumor lysis syndrome were found in patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Furthermore, 85 percent of the cases of TLS followed on the heels of chemotherapy treatment. It is believed that the remainder occurred as a result of spontaneous cell death.

Source: MedPage Today

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