Risk for pancreatitis among children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) was dependent on race and ethnicity. These findings were published in Cancer Nursing.

The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids’ Inpatient Database (HCUP KID) was used to collect 21,775 records of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the United States in 2016.

In total, 1.6% of children had documented pancreatitis. A diagnosed pancreatitis was more common among older patients (15 to 20 years: 3.1% vs 10 to 14 years: 2.5% vs ≤9 years: 0.8%; P <.001), children who were obese (4.3% vs 1.5%; P <.001), and children with hyperglycemia (5.3% vs 1.5%; P <.001).

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Among the included medical records, 46% of the children were White, 30% were Hispanic, 13% were other races, 7% were Black, and 4% were Asian. Pancreatitis was most common among Hispanic children (2.4%) and least common among White (1.3%) or Black (1.3%) children (P <.001).

In a multivariate analysis that included clinical and sociodemographic factors, compared with White children, Hispanic children had an increased risk for pancreatitis (odds ratio [OR], 1.5; 95% CI, 1.2-2.0; P =.002), and no difference was observed among Black (OR, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.5-1.4; P =.469) or Asian (OR, 1.3; 95% CI, 0.7-2.3; P =.364) children.

The limitation of this study was the self-reported nature of the measure of ethnicity. The social construct of race encompasses a large amount of biological heterogeneity, so caution should be used when applying generalizations to any group.

The study authors concluded that Hispanic children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia had an increased risk for pancreatitis.


Savage B, Cole PD, Lin H, Thomas-Hawkins C. Hispanic children hospitalized with acute lymphoblastic leukemia are at increased risk of pancreatitis. Cancer Nurs. Published online August 5, 2020. doi:10.1097/NCC.0000000000000872.