How are hyperuricemia and tumor lysis syndrome treated in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)?

Updated: Jul 02, 2021
  • Author: Karen Seiter, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Tumor lysis syndrome is a potentially life-threatening complication that may be seen in patients receiving chemotherapy for acute leukemias and high-grade non-Hodgkin lymphomas. This syndrome is characterized by elevated blood levels of uric acid, phosphate, and potassium; decreased levels of calcium; and acute renal failure.

As mentioned earlier, patients with a high tumor burden, particularly those with severe hyperuricemia, can present in renal failure. Allopurinol at 300 mg 1-3 times per day is recommended during induction therapy until blasts are cleared and hyperuricemia resolves. High-risk patients (those with very high lactate dehydrogenase [LDH] or leukemic infiltration of the kidneys) can benefit from rasburicase.

In a study by Cortes et al, adults with hyperuricemia or those at high risk for tumor lysis syndrome not only had an improved plasma uric acid response rate with rasburicase alone (0.20 mg/kg/d intravenously [IV], days 1-5) (87%) or in combination with allopurinol (IV rasburicase 0.20 mg/kg/d, days 1-3, followed by oral [PO] allopurinol 300 mg/d, days 3-5) (78%) than with allopurinol alone (300 mg/d PO, days 1-5) (66%), but they also had more rapid control of their plasma uric acid level with rasburicase alone (4 h) or rasburicase followed by allopurinol (4 h) than with allopurinol alone (27 h). [93]

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