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Cancer Treat Res. 2011;157:97-108. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4419-7073-2_6.

Cyclic and chronic neutropenia.

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Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Patients with severe chronic neutropenia have blood neutrophil level <0.5 × 10(9)/L, predisposing them to increased susceptibility to life-threatening bacterial infections. This chapter focuses on cyclic and congenital neutropenia, two very interesting and rare hematological conditions causing severe chronic neutropenia. Both disorders respond well to treatment with the myeloid growth factor, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). This chapter describes the basic features of these diseases and addresses several current clinical issues regarding their diagnosis and management. Cyclic neutropenia is a rare, inherited autosomal dominant disorder due to mutations in the gene for neutrophil elastase (ELA-2 or ELANE). Usually these patients have regular oscillation of blood neutrophil counts with periods of severe neutropenia occurring every 21 days. During these periods, they have painful mouth ulcers, fevers, and bacterial infections. The most severe consequences are gangrene, bacteremia, and septic shock. Cyclic neutropenia patients respond well to treatment with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) given by subcutaneous injections on a daily or alternate-day basis. Severe congenital neutropenia is also a rare hematological disease, but it is probably more common than cyclic neutropenia. Blood neutrophils are extremely low on a continuing basis; the levels may be <0.2 × 10(9)/L, and the risk of severe bacterial infections is even greater than in cyclic neutropenia. The majority of cases are due to autosomal dominant inheritance of mutations in the ELA-2 or ELANE gene. Less commonly, mutations in HAX-1, G6PC3, and other genes cause this disorder. Treatment with G-CSF is usually effective, but the dose of G-CSF required to normalize blood neutrophils varies greatly. Ten to thirty percent of severe congenital neutropenia patients evolve to develop acute myeloid leukemia, necessitating careful clinical monitoring.

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