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Clin Exp Immunol. 2001 Oct;126(1):126-30.

X-linked lymphoproliferative disease: three atypical cases.

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Department of Immunology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, UK.


Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) is the most frequently occurring primary immunodeficiency in both children and adults. The molecular basis of CVID has not been defined, and diagnosis involves exclusion of other molecularly defined disorders. X-linked lymphoproliferative disease (XLP) is a rare disorder in which severe immunodysregulatory phenomena typically follow Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. Boys who survive initial EBV infection have a high incidence of severe complications, including progressive immunodeficiency, aplastic anaemia, lymphoproliferative disease and lymphoma. Survival beyond the second decade is unusual, although bone marrow transplantation can be curative. Until recently reliable diagnostic testing for XLP has not been available, but the identification of the XLP gene, known as SH2D1A, and coding for a protein known as SAP, means that molecular diagnosis is now possible, both by protein expression assays, and mutation detection, although the mutation detection rate in several series is only 55-60%. We describe three male patients initially diagnosed as affected by CVID, one of whom developed fatal complications suggestive of XLP, and all of whom lack expression of SAP. Two out of three have disease-causing mutations in the SAP gene, consistent with published data for XLP. These findings raise the possibility that a subgroup of patients with CVID may be phenotypic variants of XLP. Further studies are necessary to investigate this possibility, and also to clarify the prognostic significance of SAP abnormalities in such patients in the absence of typical features of XLP.

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