Adult survivors of acute leukemia in childhood have a higher-than-expected frequency of obesity and are at increased risk for metabolic syndrome and early mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD). Adipose tissue has been recognized as an endocrine and paracrine organ that secretes various adipokines involved in metabolic regulation and inflammatory processes. In this study, we examined inflammatory factors (IL-6 and TNF-α) and adipokines (adiponectin, leptin), in addition to body composition and adiposity, in cancer survivors who underwent hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) during childhood compared with sibling controls. Over 2-year survivors of HCT for hematologic malignancies during childhood were recruited from 2 institutions along with a control population of siblings. Participants underwent evaluation for body composition, anthropometric measurements, and assessment of CVD risk factors and adipokines. Cases were stratified by radiation exposure in the preparative regimen (total body irradiation [TBI] + central nervous system [CNS] irradiation, TBI only, chemotherapy only) and adjusted least squares means were estimated for each adipokine and adjusted by age, sex, race, Tanner stage, and percent fat mass (PFM) percentiles (0-24, 25-74, 75+). A total of 151 HCT survivors and 92 siblings underwent evaluation. Significant differences in mean adipokine levels were detected between survivors and siblings; leptin was significantly higher and adiponectin significantly lower in HCT survivors who received TBI with or without CNS irradiation compared with siblings. IL-6 was significantly higher in all groups of HCT survivors compared with siblings. Body mass index (BMI) was similar in survivors and controls, although PFM was significantly higher in all groups of HCT survivors and lean body mass (LBM) was lower in survivors who received TBI with or without CNS radiation compared with siblings. HCT survivors showed an unfavorable profile of inflammation, adipokines, and adiposity, despite similar BMI as controls. Higher PFM and lower LBM may contribute to these findings. TBI exposure is correlated with greater severity of these observations. Increasing LBM may represent a tangible target for mitigating the high cardiometabolic risks of HCT survivors.
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Financial disclosure: This investigation was supported by the National Institutes of Health (Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award T32CA009351 ,) the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (Award UL1TR000423 ,), the National Cancer Institute/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases (Grants R01 CA113930-01A1 and R01 CA112530 ,), the General Clinical Research Center Program (Grant M01-RR00400 ,), and the National Center for Research Resources . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.