Severe pegaspargase hypersensitivity reaction rates (grade ≥3) with intravenous infusion vs. intramuscular injection: analysis of 54,280 doses administered to 16,534 patients on children's oncology group (COG) clinical trials.
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PEGylated asparaginase (pegaspargase) can be administered via intramuscular (IM) injection or intravenous (IV) infusion with a hypersensitivity reaction (HSR) incidence ranging 3-41%. We evaluated grade ≥3 HSRs when given IM vs. IV on six Children's Oncology Group (COG) leukemia trials (2003-2015) to determine differences in HSR rates. 54,280 doses were administered to 16,534 patients. Considering all doses of pegaspargase during induction, consolidation, and delayed intensification, grade ≥3 HSR rate with IM injection was 5.4% (n = 482/8981) compared to 3.2% for IV (n = 245/7553) (p < .0001). If only the second and third doses of pegaspargase were analyzed, where the majority of grade ≥3 HSRs occur, the rate following IM injection was 10.1% (n = 459/4534) compared to 5.0% (n = 222/4443) for IV (p < .0001). On standardized treatment protocols conducted by the COG during 2003-2015, grade ≥3 HSR rates to pegaspargase occurred less frequently with IV infusion than IM injection.