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scientific articles

Hydroxycarbamide treatment and brain MRI/MRA findings in children with sickle cell anaemia

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source: British Journal of Haematology

year: 2016

authors: Nottage KA, Ware RE, Aygun B, Smeltzer M, Kang G, Moen J, Wang WC, Hankins JS, Helton KJ


Silent cerebral infarction (SCI) is the most common neurological abnormality among children with sickle cell anaemia (SCA). The effect of hydroxycarbamide (also termed hydroxyurea) on the development and progression of SCI is unclear. We evaluated brain magnetic resonance imaging/angiography (MRI/MRA) in children with SCA receiving long-term hydroxycarbamide therapy. Fifty participants (median 9·4 years, range 1·1-17·3) enrolled in the Hydroxyurea Study of Long-Term Effects (HUSTLE; NCT00305175) underwent brain MRI/MRA and laboratory evaluations before hydroxycarbamide initiation and after 3 and 6 years of treatment to maximum tolerated dose. SCI and vascular stenosis were evaluated. At baseline, 3 and 6 years, SCI were present in 19/50 (38%), 20/49 (41%), and 7/17 (41%), respectively. At 3 years, one child developed a SCI lesion, and another progressed (single lesion to multiple). Lower haemoglobin (Hb) (80 g/l vs. 86 g/l, P = 0·049), fetal Hb (5·0% vs. 10·4%, P < 0·001) and oxygen saturation (97% vs. 98%, P = 0·027) before hydroxycarbamide initiation were associated with SCI. No patients had vascular stenosis identified on MRA, transient ischaemic attack or stroke. Our data indicate that children receiving hydroxycarbamide over a 3- to 6-year period have a low rate of new or worsening cerebrovascular disease. Further studies are needed to confirm that hydroxycarbamide can prevent the onset and progression of SCI.

organization: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, USA; Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York; University of Memphis

DOI: 10.1111/bjh.14235

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