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Blood. 1997 Feb 1;89(3):794-800.

Frequency and severity of central nervous system lesions in hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis.

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  • 1Unité d'Immuno-Hématologie et Unité INSERM 429, Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, Paris, France.

Abstract

We have retrospectively assessed the neurological manifestations in 34 patients with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) in a single center. Clinical, radiological, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cytology data were analyzed according to treatment modalities. Twenty-five patients (73%) had evidence of central nervous system (CNS) disease at time of diagnosis, stressing the frequency of CNS involvement early in the time course of HLH. Four additional patients who did not have initial CNS disease, who did not die early from HLH complications, and who were not transplanted, also developed a specific CNS disease. Therefore, all surviving and nontransplanted patients had CNS involvement. Initially, CNS manifestations consisted of isolated lymphocytic meningitis in 20 patients and meningitis with clinical and radiological neurological symptoms in nine patients. For these nine patients, neurological symptoms consisted of seizures, coma, brain stem symptoms, or ataxia. The outcome of patients treated by systemic and intrathecal chemotherapy and/or immunosuppression exclusively (n = 16) was poor, as all died following occurrence of multiple relapses or CNS disease progression in most cases. Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) from either an HLA identical sibling (n = 6) or haplo identical parent (n = 3) was performed in nine patients, once first remission of CNS and systemic disease was achieved. Seven are long-term survivors including three who received an HLA partially identical marrow. All seven are off treatment with normal neurological function and cognitive development. In four other patients, BMT performed following CNS relapses was unsuccessful. Given the frequency and the poor outcome of CNS disease in HLH, BMT appears, therefore, to be the only available treatment procedure that is capable of preventing HLH CNS disease progression and that can result in cure when performed early enough after remission induction.

PMID:
9028310
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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