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Rinsho Ketsueki. 1999 Dec;40(12):1258-64.

[Epstein-Barr virus-associated hemophagocytic syndrome during mid-term pregnancy successfully treated with combined methylprednisolone and intravenous immunoglobulin].

[Article in Japanese]

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2nd Department of Internal Medicine, Aichi Medical University.


A 32-year-old woman in the 16th week of pregnancy was admitted to our hospital because of high fever. Laboratory findings disclosed pancytopenia and extremely elevated serum LDH and ferritin levels. Coagulation tests showed disseminated intravascular coagulation. Serum soluble interleukin-2 receptor, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and interleukin-6 levels were high, but serum interferon-gamma was below the detectable limit. Reactive Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection was diagnosed on the basis of a high titer of IgG antibodies to the EBV capsid antigen and early antigen. EBV was demonstrated in the peripheral blood and bone marrow cells by polymerase chain reaction. Mature histiocytosis and hemophagocytosis were detected in the bone marrow. A diagnosis of EBV-associated hemophagocytic syndrome (EBV-AHS) was made. Neither prednisolone (PSL 30 mg/day, P.O.) nor methylprednisolone (m-PSL) pulse therapy (1,000 mg/day for 3 days) induced a response. Thereafter, treatment with m-PSL pulse therapy (1,000 mg/day for 3 days) and i.v. administrations of high-dose immunoglobulin (20 g/day for 3 days) in combination with acyclovir (750 mg/day) and gabexate mesilate (2 g/day) induced remission of the disease. Maintenance therapy consisted of PSL (5 mg/day, P.O.) and camostat mesilate (600 mg/day, P.O.). The patient delivered a healthy male infant in the 35th week of pregnancy via natural birth. Reports of pregnant women with EBV-AHS are rare, and the choice of therapy has not yet been established. The present case study suggested the above combination treatment is useful and safe, and capable of changing the fulminant course of EBV-AHS during pregnancy without the use of anticancer drugs.

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