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Pediatrics. 1985 Aug;76(2):263-8.

Treatment of four patients with erythrophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis by a combination of epipodophyllotoxin, steroids, intrathecal methotrexate, and cranial irradiation.


Familial erythrophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, a rare disorder affecting infants, is characterized by a visceral infiltration of histiocytes and lymphocytes resulting in rapid death. It has recently been reported that use of epipodophyllotoxin, VP 16-213, could induce a complete remission of the disease. Such treatment does not, however, prevent fatal CNS relapse. Four patients with the characteristic features of the disease--fever, hepatosplenomegaly, pancytopenia, low plasmatic fibrinogen level, hyperlipidemia, and histiocytic meningitis--are described. These patients were treated with a combination therapy including systemic administration of VP 16-213, steroids, and intrathecal methotrexate followed by cranial irradiation after the age of 12 months. The four patients achieved complete remission of the disease after clearing of the CNS localization. Two patients had secondary relapses, but all four patients have had a disease-free survival exceeding 12 months. All patients have been in remission of the disease for 27, 20, 16, and 13 months, respectively, after disease onset without major setbacks from the treatment. This combination therapy appears to be a promising approach toward long-term remission of the disease.

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