Children treated for acute leukaemia are at increased risk of infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae. The basis for this may include low levels of pneumococcal antibody but this has not been well studied. The authors measured serotype-specific pneumococcal IgG antibody concentrations in children treated for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) ≥6 months after completion of standard-dose chemotherapy.
Pneumococcal serotype-specific IgG antibody concentrations were low. None of the subjects had protective concentrations against all the heptavalent-pneumococcal conjugate vaccine serotypes. There was no significant difference in antibody concentrations between subjects with ALL and AML (p≥0.05).
Children treated for ALL and AML generally have non-protective antibody concentrations against S pneumoniae. There is significant morbidity associated with pneumococcal disease in this patient group and strategies for vaccination are required.
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Competing interests RB has received assistance to attend scientific meetings from Wyeth, Novartis, Sanofi Pasteur and Baxter Bioscience and has served as an ad hoc consultant for Wyeth, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Sanofi Pasteur and Baxter Bioscience. Industry honoraria.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Royal Marsden Hospital Ethics committee.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.