Early, empiric high-dose leucovorin rescue in lymphoma patients treated with sequential doses of high-dose methotrexate

Jason N. Barreto, Kristen T. Peterson, Erin F. Barreto, Kristin C. Mara, Ross A. Dierkhising, Nelson Leung, Thomas E. Witzig, Carrie A. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In patients exposed to high-dose methotrexate (HDMTX; >1g/m2) with a history of elevated methotrexate (MTX) concentrations during previous doses, it is unclear whether prescribing high-dose leucovorin (HDLV) rescue limits future high levels or reduces the likelihood of acute kidney injury (AKI). Methods: This retrospective, single-center study longitudinally followed adult lymphoma patients treated with HDMTX between 1/1/2011 and 10/31/2017 from diagnosis until 30 days after the last HDMTX dose. Endpoints included elevated MTX concentrations at 48 h (>1.0 μmol/L) and incident AKI after each HDMTX dose. Results: The 321 included patients had a median (IQR) age of 65 (57, 72) years, 190 (59%) were male, and 293 (91%) were Caucasian. There were 1558 HDMTX doses [median (IQR) 3 (2, 6) doses per patient] prescribed with 265 (83%) patients receiving more than one MTX dose. Those receiving HDLV rescue were more likely to have an elevated MTX concentration after that dose (OR = 2.69, 95% CI: 1.75-4.11, p < 0.001). Receiving HDLV rescue was associated with a greater likelihood of AKI after MTX (OR = 2.18, 95% CI: 1.38-3.43, p < 0.001). Hospital LOS was longer in those prescribed empiric HDLV rescue after MTX than those prescribed standard leucovorin with an estimated difference of 1.1 days, (95% CI: 0.5-1.7, p < 0.001). Conclusion: Sequential HDMTX doses are associated with a significant incidence of elevated MTX levels and AKI during lymphoma management. HDLV rescue prescribed during subsequent MTX doses in patients with a previously elevated level was not associated with improved safety outcomes. The optimal supportive care strategy following HDMTX administration requires further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5293-5301
Number of pages9
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Leucovorin rescue
  • Lymphoma
  • Methotrexate
  • Nephrotoxicity
  • Therapeutic drug monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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