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Snippets in haematology
  1. Scott McCloskey (,
  2. Mary Frances McMullin (

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This section features synopses of pertinent practical publications that appear in Pathology journals in the respective sub-specialties. The summaries are mere guidelines and personal opinions of the two authors. The articles selected are diverse but occasionally reflect the authors’ bias and are from the more widely read pathology journals. It is not intended to be an assiduous search of every publication in every Pathology journal, but more of a general indication of some of the monthly highlights through the eyes of the authors.

Hopefully, these snippets will provide the reader with enough to glean some facts and tips, as well as encourage them to read the entire article if necessary.

New England Journal of Medicine

25 June 2009

Pui C-H, Campana D, Pei D, et al. Treating childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia without cranial irradation. N Engl J Med 2009;360:2730–41.

Prophylactic cranial irradiation may prevent central nervous system (CNS) disease in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia but it has long-term effects. This study identifies children at risk of CNS disease and treats them with an intense and carefully administered intrathecal therapy as well as their systemic chemotherapy regimen but omitting prophylactic cranial irradiation. Compared with a historical control group this group had significantly longer continuous remissions. This trial suggests that prophylactic cranial irradiation can be safely omitted in the treatment of childhood acute leukaemia. In the small proportion who do develop CNS relapse this is eminently curable.

British Journal of Haematology

March 2009

Pettengell R, Bosly A, Szucs TD, et al. Multivariate analysis of febrile neutropenia occurrence in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma: data from the INC-EU Prospective Observational European Neutropenia Study. Br J Haematol 2009;144:677–85.

Febrile neutropenia is a common unwanted consequence of myelosuppressive therapy, and bears significant cost for the patient and for the NHS. This study identifies older age, chemotherapy dose, history of previous chemotherapy, recent infection and hypoalbuminaemia …

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  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.