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Haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis as a consequence of untreated B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
  1. Chris Bailey1,
  2. Claire Dearden2,
  3. Kirit Ardeshna3
  1. 1 Department of Haematology, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK
  2. 2 Department of Haemato-Oncology, Royal Marsden Hospital, London, UK
  3. 3 Department of Haematology, UCLH, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Chris Bailey, chrisbailey1{at}


Haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a rare, life-threatening syndrome characterised by defective cytotoxic function and hypercytokinaemia leading to macrophage expansion and haemophagocytosis. Patients often present with unexplained fevers, hepatosplenomegaly and pancytopenia, with elevation in serum ferritin and triglyceride. Acquired forms are triggered by infection, malignancy or rheumatological disorders. HLH in the setting of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia is rarely reported, however, and is usually associated with infection or as a consequence of chemotherapy. We present a case of HLH in a 64-year-old Caucasian woman with the only identified trigger being her hitherto untreated CLL.

  • Haematology (incl blood transfusion)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Malignant disease and immunosuppression
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  • Contributors CB wrote the initial manuscript. KA and CD were

    responsible for the patients care and revised the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Consent obtained from Next of kin.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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