Venoocclusive disease of the liver after chemotherapy with vincristine, actinomycin D, and cyclophosphamide for the treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma

Jorge A. Ortega, Sarah S. Donaldson, S. Percy Ivy, Alberto Pappo, Harold M. Maurer

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63 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Venoocclusive disease (VOD) of the liver is a common complication after allogenic and autologous bone marrow transplantation for malignant disease. The authors report the unusual and unexpected complication of VOD of the liver occurring in children with rhabdomyosarcoma who were receiving vincristine, actinomycin D, and cyclophosphamide (VAC) according to the chemotherapy regimens of the Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study (IRS) IV. METHODS. The authors evaluated 821 patients with newly diagnosed rhabdomyosarcoma receiving treatment according to IRS IV who were considered at risk for VOD. RESULTS. Ten patients developed VOD of the liver for an overall incidence of 1.2%. VOD was found only after the administration of VAC chemotherapy. The highest incidence of VOD was observed among patients who had previously received vincristine and melphalan (Regimen 48). None of the patients receiving the chemotherapy regimen of vincristine and actinomycin D (Regimen 44) developed VOD. CONCLUSIONS. Patients receiving VAC-containing regimens on the IRS IV were found to be at risk for VOD. The VAC combination was used extensively in previous IRS studies (I, II, and III) and VOD was not reported during these studies, strongly suggesting that the escalation of the cyclophosphamide dose to 2.2 g/m 2 (with the vincristine and actinomycin D doses and schedule remaining unchanged) triggered the development of VOD. The contributing role of previous therapy or events is unknown. At last follow- up, none of the nine surviving patients had developed recurrent VOD on continuation of chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2435-2439
Number of pages5
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • VAC chemotherapy
  • Venoocclusive disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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