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Polyclonal hypergammaglobulinemia at the onset of acute myeloid leukemia in children


 Polyclonal hypergammaglobulinemia (PHG) associated with hematological malignancies is a rare occurrence. We reviewed our series of 47 children with AML in order to define the prevalence of PHG and its prognostic value in achieving complete remission (CR) after induction treatment. Patients were stratified by immunoglobulin levels into two groups: with PHG and without PHG. CR reached after induction chemotherapy was considered a positive response. Conditional exact tests were used for the statistical analysis; conditional maximum likelihood estimates of the odds ratio (OR) were obtained. Significance levels (p) were determined from two-tailed tests. Twenty-two of 38 (57.9%) evaluable children showed PHG. Children with PHG and AML were more likely to be in CR after first induction treatment (OR=6.25, p=0.021), independent of sex, age at diagnosis, white blood cell count, percentage of blasts in the bone marrow, FAB phenotype, and treatment protocol. Infections seemed to positively influence early treatment response (p=0.038). PHG and infections were not statistically associated (p=0.16). PHG may result from the uncontrolled stimulation of B lymphocytes by cytokines. Infections or transfusions may act as triggers for the immune system, leading to the antileukemic effect seen in patients with AML and PHG going into spontaneous remission. It could be that this activation caused the larger number of CRs observed in our series. Clarification of why PHG exerts a positive influence on children with AML could help us to understand the ways by which the organism is able to control a malignant disease.

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Received: October 23, 1998 / Accepted: May 31, 1999

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Surico, G., Muggeo, P., Muggeo, V. et al. Polyclonal hypergammaglobulinemia at the onset of acute myeloid leukemia in children. Ann Hematol 78, 445–448 (1999).

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  • Key words Hypergammaglobulinemia
  • Polyclonal
  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Children