• acute lymphoblastic leukemia;
  • pathologic thrombus formation


To determine if factor VIII-von Willebrand factor (vWF) complex is involved in the thrombosis associated with asparaginase-prednisone-vincristine induction therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, plasma vWF was analyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfateagarose gel electrophoresis and crossed immunoelectrophoresis. Five patients with cerebral thrombosis were studied; all had a decreased platelet count following the complication. Sequential studies of three patients disclosed changes in plasma vWF multimer pattern. One patient who was studied serially from 2 days before to 1 day after the event, had an increase in unusually large plasma vWF multimers that disappeared after the complication. The other two patients who were studied at presentation subsequently showed a decrease in plasma large vWF multimers, especially remarkable in the patient having the sharpest decrease in platelet count. No appreciable difference in vWF multimer pattern, when compared to normal pooled plasma, was found in the remaining two patients who were only studied at presentation, or in the seven controls who received the same treatment but did not develop thrombosis. Crossed immunoelectrophoretic analyses of two patients tested disclosed a right shift of immunoprecipitin line in one and a left shift in the other. Our findings suggest that the thrombotic complications resulted from platelet agglutination by plasma vWF.