Relationship between oral mucositis and high-dose methotrexate therapy in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia

T. Maiguma, Y. Hayashi, S. Ueshima, H. Kaji, T. Egawa, K. Chayama, T. Morishima, Y. Kitamura, T. Sendo, Y. Gomita, D. Teshima

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Oral mucositis is a major toxicity the high-dose methotrexate (HD-MTX) treatment for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The first aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between the MTX serum concentration and occurrence of oral mucositis in pediatric ALL patients. The second aim was to clarify the relationship between MTX exposure and epidermal keratinocyte cell injury using an in vitro study. Methods: 49 patients were treated according to the Japan Association of Childhood Leukemia Study (JACLS) ALL-HR02 protocol. This protocol involves HD-MTX treatment (3 g/m2 for 24-h i.v. infusion). The MTX serum concentrations were measured by a fluorescence polarization immunoassay. The relationship between oral mucositis and MTX serum concentrations 48 and 72 h after administration was determined. The cell toxicity of MTX for human epidermal keratinocytes was analyzed by using a cell viability assay (WST-1 assay). In addition, pharmacokinetic evaluation for clearance, AUC extrapolated from 48 h to infinity (AUC48h-∞) and elimination half-life (t1/2β) were done using the 1-compartmental models. Results: Oral mucositis occurred in 24 patients (49.0%), in whom 20 patients (83.3% in oral mucositis group) showed WHO severity Grade 1 or 2. Only 4 patients (16.7% in oral mucositis group) showed Grade 3 severity. 22 patients (44.9%) had oral mucositis in the group with a concentration under 10-6 M 48 h after MTX administration. There was no significant deference among the cell viabilities in the concentrations of 10-6 M, 10-5 M and 10-4 M 48 h after the MTX exposure. However, the cell viability obtained 24 h after the MTX exposure was significantly different from the respective cell viability 48, 72 and 96 h after the MTX exposure. In the group with oral mucositis, the clearance decreased significantly (p = 0.042), and the t1/2β (p = 0.025) and AUC48h∞ (P = 0.025) increased significantly compared with the non-symptom group. Conclusions: It seems that there is no significant relationship between the serum MTX concentration and oral mucositis. This in vitro study has demonstrated that the cell injury was related to the duration of MTX exposure rather than a high MTX concentration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-590
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


  • Cell viability
  • High-dose methotrexate chemotherapy
  • Human epidermal keratinocytes
  • Oral mucositis
  • Pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Pharmacokinetic paramuters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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