HLH in Adults

Chapter

Abstract

Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) in adolescent and adult patients (aHLH) is getting increasing attention due to an assumed rising incidence, a better pathophysiologic understanding, and a growing arsenal of therapeutic ammunition. For many years HLH used to be a domain of pediatrics and was almost totally neglected in adults. Nowadays, with raising awareness (although it is still severely underdiagnosed), more and more physicians face the challenges of diagnosis and treatment of aHLH. The aim of this chapter is to provide information on HLH, specifically in adults. The spectrum of underlying conditions, triggering factors, and genetic predisposition differs in age groups with enrichment of familial disease in children and enrichment of malignant disorders as underlying condition and/or trigger in adults. These differences plus differential tolerance of drugs due to age and comorbidity guide the recommended aHLH treatment approach. Simply copying the pediatric recommendations to adults may have deleterious consequences. Treatment of HLH requires individual tailoring of anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive treatment components combined with disease-specific treatment such as chemotherapy in malignancy or antimicrobial drugs in infection-triggered HLH. The clinical overlap to sepsis with high risk of missed diagnosis on intensive care units will also be discussed.

Keywords

HLH Hemophagocytic syndrome Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis Adults MAS Macrophage activation syndrome Criteria Treatment Genetics Sepsis 

Abbreviations

aHLH

adult hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis

AOSD

adult-onset Still’s disease

CS

corticosteroids

CsA

cyclosporin A

CTL

cytotoxic T lymphocyte

DEX

dexamethasone

EBMT

European Society of Blood and Marrow transplantation

EBV

Epstein-Barr virus

FHL

familial HLH

HLH

hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis

LA-HLH

lymphoma-associated HLH

MAS

macrophage activation syndrome

MOF

multiorgan failure

NK cell

natural killer cell

PVIG

polyvalent intravenous immunoglobulin

sCD25

soluble interleukin-2 receptor

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Klinik für Innere Medizin II, Klinikstr. 11Schwarzwald-Baar-KinikumVillingen-SchwenningenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Hematology, Oncology and Internal DiseasesMedical University of WarsawWarsawPoland

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