, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 253-257

Autoimmunity in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

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Opinion statement

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is associated with the immune-mediated disorders autoimmune hemolytic anemia and immune thrombocytopenia. Initial treatment with corticosteroids is often successful in controlling these manifestations, but splenectomy should be considered if a rapid and complete response is not obtained. For those with persistent anemia or thrombocytopenia after splenectomy, treatment directed against the underlying CLL may be considered, although the use of purine analogues has also precipitated autoimmune hemolytic anemia. Pure red cell aplasia has been reported in CLL, and usually responds to immunosuppressive therapy.