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      Recommendations for the management of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis in adults

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          Abstract

          Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a severe hyperinflammatory syndrome induced by aberrantly activated macrophages and cytotoxic T cells. The primary (genetic) form, caused by mutations affecting lymphocyte cytotoxicity and immune regulation, is most common in children, whereas the secondary (acquired) form is most frequent in adults. Secondary HLH is commonly triggered by infections or malignancies but may also be induced by autoinflammatory/autoimmune disorders, in which case it is called macrophage activation syndrome (MAS; or MAS-HLH). Most information on the diagnosis and treatment of HLH comes from the pediatric literature. Although helpful in some adult cases, this raises several challenges. For example, the HLH-2004 diagnostic criteria developed for children are commonly applied but are not validated for adults. Another challenge in HLH diagnosis is that patients may present with a phenotype indistinguishable from sepsis or multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. Treatment algorithms targeting hyperinflammation are frequently based on pediatric protocols, such as HLH-94 and HLH-2004, which may result in overtreatment and unnecessary toxicity in adults. Therefore, dose reductions, individualized tailoring of treatment duration, and an age-dependent modified diagnostic approach are to be considered. Here, we present expert opinions derived from an interdisciplinary working group on adult HLH, sponsored by the Histiocyte Society, to facilitate knowledge transfer between physicians caring for pediatric and adult patients with HLH, with the aim to improve the outcome for adult patients affected by HLH.

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          Most cited references87

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          Confirmed efficacy of etoposide and dexamethasone in HLH treatment: long-term results of the cooperative HLH-2004 study.

          Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a life-threatening hyperinflammatory syndrome comprising familial/genetic HLH (FHL) and secondary HLH. In the HLH-94 study, with an estimated 5-year probability of survival (pSu) of 54% (95% confidence interval, 48%-60%), systemic therapy included etoposide, dexamethasone, and, from week 9, cyclosporine A (CSA). Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) was indicated in patients with familial/genetic, relapsing, or severe/persistent disease. In HLH-2004, CSA was instead administered upfront, aiming to reduce pre-HSCT mortality and morbidity. From 2004 to 2011, 369 children aged <18 years fulfilled HLH-2004 inclusion criteria (5 of 8 diagnostic criteria, affected siblings, and/or molecular diagnosis in FHL-causative genes). At median follow-up of 5.2 years, 230 of 369 patients (62%) were alive (5-year pSu, 61%; 56%-67%). Five-year pSu in children with (n = 168) and without (n = 201) family history/genetically verified FHL was 59% (52%-67%) and 64% (57%-71%), respectively (familial occurrence [n = 47], 58% [45%-75%]). Comparing with historical data (HLH-94), using HLH-94 inclusion criteria, pre-HSCT mortality was nonsignificantly reduced from 27% to 19% (P = .064 adjusted for age and sex). Time from start of therapy to HSCT was shorter compared with HLH-94 (P =020 adjusted for age and sex) and reported neurological alterations at HSCT were 22% in HLH-94 and 17% in HLH-2004 (using HLH-94 inclusion criteria). Five-year pSu post-HSCT overall was 66% (verified FHL, 70% [63%-78%]). Additional analyses provided specific suggestions on potential pre-HSCT treatment improvements. HLH-2004 confirms that a majority of patients may be rescued by the etoposide/dexamethasone combination but intensification with CSA upfront, adding corticosteroids to intrathecal therapy, and reduced time to HSCT did not improve outcome significantly.
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            Infections associated with haemophagocytic syndrome

            Summary Haemophagocytic syndrome or haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis is a rare disease that is often fatal despite treatment. Haemophagocytic syndrome is caused by a dysregulation in natural killer T-cell function, resulting in activation and proliferation of lymphocytes or histiocytes with uncontrolled haemophagocytosis and cytokine overproduction. The syndrome is characterised by fever, hepatosplenomegaly, cytopenias, liver dysfunction, and hyperferritinaemia. Haemophagocytic syndrome can be either primary, with a genetic aetiology, or secondary, associated with malignancies, autoimmune diseases, or infections. Infections associated with haemophagocytic syndrome are most frequently caused by viruses, particularly Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). We present a case of EBV-associated haemophagocytic syndrome in a young adult with no known immunosuppression. We briefly review haemophagocytic syndrome and then discuss its associated infections, particularly EBV and other herpes viruses, HIV, influenza, parvovirus, and hepatitis viruses, as well as bacterial, fungal, and parasitic organisms.
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              2016 Classification Criteria for Macrophage Activation Syndrome Complicating Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: A European League Against Rheumatism/American College of Rheumatology/Paediatric Rheumatology International Trials Organisation Collaborative Initiative.

              To develop criteria for the classification of macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) in patients with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). A multistep process, based on a combination of expert consensus and analysis of real patient data, was conducted. A panel of 28 experts was first asked to classify 428 patient profiles as having or not having MAS, based on clinical and laboratory features at the time of disease onset. The 428 profiles comprised 161 patients with systemic JIA-associated MAS and 267 patients with a condition that could potentially be confused with MAS (active systemic JIA without evidence of MAS, or systemic infection). Next, the ability of candidate criteria to classify individual patients as having MAS or not having MAS was assessed by evaluating the agreement between the classification yielded using the criteria and the consensus classification of the experts. The final criteria were selected in a consensus conference. Experts achieved consensus on the classification of 391 of the 428 patient profiles (91.4%). A total of 982 candidate criteria were tested statistically. The 37 best-performing criteria and 8 criteria obtained from the literature were evaluated at the consensus conference. During the conference, 82% consensus among experts was reached on the final MAS classification criteria. In validation analyses, these criteria had a sensitivity of 0.73 and a specificity of 0.99. Agreement between the classification (MAS or not MAS) obtained using the criteria and the original diagnosis made by the treating physician was high (κ=0.76). We have developed a set of classification criteria for MAS complicating systemic JIA and provided preliminary evidence of its validity. Use of these criteria will potentially improve understanding of MAS in systemic JIA and enhance efforts to discover effective therapies, by ensuring appropriate patient enrollment in studies.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Blood
                Blood
                American Society of Hematology
                0006-4971
                1528-0020
                June 06 2019
                June 06 2019
                June 06 2019
                April 16 2019
                : 133
                : 23
                : 2465-2477
                Article
                10.1182/blood.2018894618
                30992265
                03e21c48-554e-4fb9-bf79-405ae4e1faeb
                © 2019
                History

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