BMC genomics. 2016-08-15; 17.1: 635.

Gastrointestinal microbial populations can distinguish pediatric and adolescent Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at the time of disease diagnosis

Rajagopala SV, Yooseph S, Harkins DM, Moncera KJ, Zabokrtsky KB, Torralba MG, Tovchigrechko A, Highlander SK, Pieper R, Sender L, Nelson KE

PMID: 27527070


An estimated 15,000 children and adolescents under the age of 19 years are diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma and other tumors in the USA every year. All children and adolescent acute leukemia patients will undergo chemotherapy as part of their treatment regimen. Fortunately, survival rates for most pediatric cancers have improved at a remarkable pace over the past three decades, and the overall survival rate is greater than 90 % today. However, significant differences in survival rate have been found in different age groups (94 % in 1-9.99 years, 82 % in ≥10 years and 76 % in ≥15 years). ALL accounts for about three out of four cases of childhood leukemia. Intensive chemotherapy treatment coupled with prophylactic or therapeutic antibiotic use could potentially have a long-term effect on the resident gastrointestinal (GI) microbiome. The composition of GI microbiome and its changes upon chemotherapy in pediatric and adolescent leukemia patients is poorly understood. In this study, using 16S rRNA marker gene sequences we profile the GI microbial communities of pediatric and adolescent acute leukemia patients before and after chemotherapy treatment and compare with the microbiota of their healthy siblings.