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Blood. 1999 Mar 15;93(6):1869-74.

Effective control of Epstein-Barr virus-related hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis with immunochemotherapy. Histiocyte Society.

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1
Division of Pediatrics, Children's Research Hospital, and Department of Pediatrics, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan.

Abstract

The familial form of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a lethal disorder. Although the prognosis for Epstein-Barr virus-associated HLH (EBV-HLH) remains uncertain, numerous reports indicate that it can also be fatal in a substantial proportion of cases. We therefore assessed the potential of immunochemotherapy with a core combination of steroids and etoposide to control EBV-HLH in 17 infants and children who met stringent diagnostic criteria for this reactive disorder of the mononuclear phagocyte system. Treatment of life-threatening emergencies was left to the discretion of participating investigators and typically included either intravenous Ig or cyclosporin A (CSA). Five patients (29%) entered complete remission during the induction phase (1 to 2 months), whereas 10 others (57%) required additional treatment to achieve this status. In 2 cases, immunochemotherapy was ineffective, prompting allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. Severe but reversible myelosuppression was a common finding; adverse late sequelae were limited to epileptic activity in one child and chronic EBV infection in 2 others. Fourteen of the 17 patients treated with immunochemotherapy have maintained their complete responses for 4+ to 39+ months (median, 15+ months), suggesting a low probability of disease recurrence. These results provide a new perspective on EBV-HLH, showing effective control (and perhaps cure) of the majority of EBV-HLH cases without bone marrow transplantation, using steroids and etoposide, with or without immunomodulatory agents.

PMID:
10068659
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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