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Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Late Effects of the Digestive System

Table 5. Digestive Tract Late Effects continued...

Less commonly reported hepatobiliary complications include cholelithiasis, focal nodular hyperplasia, nodular regenerative hyperplasia, and microvesicular fatty change. In limited studies, an increased risk of cholelithiasis has been linked to ileal conduit, parenteral nutrition, abdominal surgery, abdominal radiation, and HSCT.[53,54] Gallbladder disease was the most frequent late-onset liver condition reported among participants in the CCSS and they had a twofold excess risk compared with sibling controls (RR = 2.0; 95% CI, 2.0–40.0).[29] Lesions made up of regenerating liver called focal nodular hyperplasia have been incidentally noted after chemotherapy or HSCT.[55,56] These lesions are thought to be iatrogenic manifestations of vascular damage and have been associated with VOD, high-dose alkylating agents (e.g., busulfan and melphalan), and liver radiation therapy. The prevalence of this finding is unknown, noted at less than 1% in some papers;[56] however, this is likely an underestimate. In one study of patients who were followed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) after transplant to assess liver iron stores, the cumulative incidence was 35% at 150 months posttransplant.[55] The lesions can mimic metastatic or subsequent tumors, but MRI imaging is generally diagnostic, and unless the lesions grow or patients have worrisome symptoms, biopsy or resection is generally not necessary.

Nodular regenerative hyperplasia is a rare condition characterized by the development of multiple monoacinar regenerative hepatic nodules and mild fibrosis. The pathogenesis is not well established, but may represent a nonspecific tissue adaptation to heterogeneous hepatic blood flow.[57] Nodular regenerative hyperplasia has rarely been observed in survivors of childhood cancer treated with chemotherapy, with or without liver radiation therapy.[58,59] Biopsy may be necessary to distinguish nodular regenerative hyperplasia from a subsequent malignancy.

In a cohort who recently completed intensified therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, histologic evidence of fatty infiltration was noted in 93% and siderosis in up to 70% of patients.[60] Fibrosis developed in 11% and was associated with higher serum low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Fatty liver with insulin resistance has also been reported to develop more frequently in long-term childhood cancer survivors treated with cranial radiation before allogeneic stem cell transplantation who were not overweight or obese.[61] Prospective studies are needed to define whether acute posttherapy fatty liver change contributes to the development of steatohepatitis or the metabolic syndrome in this population. Likewise, information about the long-term outcomes of transfusion-related iron overload is lacking, especially among survivor cohorts who did not undergo hematopoietic cell transplantation.

Survivors with liver dysfunction should be counseled regarding risk-reduction methods to prevent hepatic injury. Standard recommendations include maintenance of a healthy body weight, abstinence from alcohol use, and immunization against hepatitis A and B viruses. In patients with chronic hepatitis, precautions to reduce viral transmission to household and sexual contacts should also be reviewed.

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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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