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American journal of clinical pathology

Marrow assessment for hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis demonstrates poor correlation with disease probability.


PMID 24343738

Abstract

To evaluate the amount of hemophagocytosis in 64 marrow core biopsy specimens and aspirates from 58 patients with clinical suspicion for secondary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) or reported findings of hemophagocytosis. A review of medical records assigned patients to a low-risk (45 patients) or high-risk (13 patients) HLH group, and association with histologic findings was examined using the Fisher exact test. The amount of hemophagocytosis in aspirate or the core biopsy specimen did not correlate with disease probability (P = .17 and P = .63, respectively). Of the clinical/laboratory criteria assessed, the most significant correlations with HLH were highly elevated ferritin (P = .01), cytopenias (P = .02), and fever (P = .009). Our findings indicated that marrow histologic findings alone do not reliably predict the probability of HLH, and an isolated finding of hemophagocytosis, even when present in a high amount, lacks specificity for HLH.