Secondary autoimmune cytopenias in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Rogers KA, Woyach JA
Semin Oncol 43 300-10 04/01/2016

Abstract

Secondary autoimmune cytopenias in chronic lymphocytic leukemia are distinct clinical entities that require specific management. These autoimmune disorders have a complex pathogenesis that involves both the leukemic cells and the immune environment in which they exist. The mechanism is not the same in all cases, and to varying degrees involves the chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells in antibody production, antigen presentation, and stimulation of T cells and bystander polyclonal B cells. Diagnosis of autoimmune cytopenias can be challenging as it is difficult to differentiate between autoimmunity and bone marrow failure due to disease progression. There is a need to distinguish these causes, as prognosis and treatment are not the same. Evidence regarding treatment of secondary autoimmune cytopenias is limited, but many effective options exist and treatment can be selected with severity of disease and patient factors in mind. With new agents to treat CLL coming into widespread clinical use, it will be important to understand how these will change the natural history and treatment of autoimmune cytopenias.

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