Therapeutics for paediatric oncological emergencies

Karen Ka Yan Leung, Kam Lun Hon, Wun Fung Hui, Alexander KC Leung, Chi Kong Li


Background: With advancements in the field of oncology, cancer survival rates have improved dramatically but modern cancer treatments also come with an increasing number of disease and treatment-associated complications. This article provides an updated narrative review on the pathophysiology, clinical presentations and latest management strategies for common paediatric oncological emergencies.

Methods: An extensive PubMed® search of all human studies in the English literature was performed in Clinical Queries for different oncology syndromes and conditions using the following Medical Subject Headings: “tumour lysis syndrome”, “hyperleukocytosis”, “disseminated intravascular coagulation”, “superior mediastinal syndrome”, “superior vena cava syndrome”, “sepsis”, “severe inflammatory response syndrome”, “acute respiratory distress syndrome”, “posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome” and “reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome”. Categories were limited to clinical trials and reviews for ages from birth to 18 years.

Results: The general description, presentation and management of these oncologic emergencies are systematically described. Early recognition along with prompt and proactive treatment can reduce the chances of potential complications and improve the clinical outcomes, thereby improving not only survival rates in oncology patients but also their clinical outcomes and quality of life.

Conclusions: Oncologic emergencies are associated with significant mortality and morbidity. Healthcare professionals involved with the care of oncology patients must be vigilant of these emergencies.

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Accepted: ; Published: .


Leung KKY, Hon KL, Hui WF, Leung AKC, Li CK. Therapeutics for paediatric oncological emergencies. Drugs in Context 2021; 10: 2020-11-5. DOI: 10.7573/dic.2020-11-5

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