Kidneys After Childhood Cancer

High blood pressure and kidney dysfunction in children who overcome cancer

(RxWiki News) For a kid to beat cancer means that child has the opportunity to live a long, fulfilling life. But certain battles may not be finished. Children who overcome cancer may still face some health risks.

Kidney problems and high blood pressure may be common among people who beat cancer as a child, according to recent findings.

"Keep an eye on your health, especially after cancer."

"Little is known about [kidney] function and blood pressure in long-term childhood cancer survivors," write Sebastiaan L. Knijnenburg, MSc, of Academic Medical Center and Emma Children's Hospital in Amsterdam, and colleagues in background information to their study.

So, Knijnenburg and colleagues set out to study how common these health problems were among those who overcame cancer as a child.

They also wanted to see what factors might increase the risk of these problems.

The researchers found that nearly 30 percent of those who beat childhood cancer had kidney problems or high blood pressure 5 years or more after being diagnosed.

A total of 14.8 percent of participants had high blood pressure, while 14.5 percent had albuminuria - presence of the protein albumin in the urine, which is a sign of kidney damage.

About 4.5 percent of those who beat cancer had a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of less than 90 mL/min/1.73 m2.

GFR is a measure of kidney function. According to the National Kidney Foundation, a normal GFR is between 90 and 120 mL/min/1.73 m2.

The Dutch researchers also found that participants who had a kidney removed had the highest risk of reduced kidney function. These patients were about 8.6 times more likely to have reduced kidney function.

Participants who had both a kidney removed and radiation treatment were 4.92 times more likely to have high blood pressure.

Other factors that increased the odds of having high blood pressure were being male, having a higher body mass index (BMI) and a longer time since cancer treatment.

According to the authors, these findings may suggest the need to keep an eye on kidney function in high-risk groups and blood pressure in all children who overcome cancer. Doing so may help doctors spot and treat health problems early, which may prevent further damage, they said.

The study - which included 1,442 people between 15.6 and 24.5 years of age who beat childhood cancer - was published in the September issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology

Review Date: 
September 23, 2012