Background. Children treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with anthracycline antibiotic agents must
be followed up for the danger of late cardiotoxic effects of the treatment. Another threat represents the consequence
of the protective upbringing and inactive lifestyle. The aim of present study was to assess the exercise cardiorespiratory
indexes and anthropometric variables in previously treated children without clinical, ECG and echocardiographic
signs of cardiotoxicity, who had been motivated to physical activity.
Methods and Results. 29 children (12.3±2.7 years old) previously treated for ALL with anthracyclines were
examined. The cumulative dosis of anthracyclines was 224±39.4 mg/m2. The treatment was finished before 4.8±2.1
years and after this period no signs of the late cardiotoxicity were detectable. Both children and their parents were
encouraged to the regular physical activity of submaximal intensity. 29 age-and sex-matched control subjects were
healthy children, never limited in their activities, but without special physical training. As soon as the basic
anthropometric data had been verified, both groups completed a progressive exercise test with the assessment of
submaximal and maximal spiroergometric indexes. In all parameters followed we failed to prove any significant
differences between the two groups. The treated children exhibited only slightly lower body height, higher body
weight and higher percentage of body fat. They reached lower respiratory exchange ratio (R), with higher oxygen
uptake on both submaximal and maximal load levels.
Conclusions. When sufficiently motivated, children surviving five years after the treatment with anthracycline for
ALL, who have no signs of cardiotoxic effects, have their functional cardiorespiratory capacity approximately
comparable to that of healthy children.
children, leukemia, anthracyclines, physical activity, spiroergometry.