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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis and Relapsing Polychondritis with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia: Case Report and Review of the Literature

Challenging differential diagnosis, Rare disease, Rare coexistence of disease or pathology

Hamza M. Alsaid, Adnan A.M. Wahdan, Ihab N. Tahboub, Nour M. Almakadma

Israel Department of Medicine, Hadassah University Hospital, Al-Quds School of Medicine, Jerusalem, Israel

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e925287

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.925287

Available online: 2020-07-14

Published: 2020-08-19


BACKGROUND: This case report describes rare disease entities with possible associations that include relapsing polychondritis, a rare disease with systemic manifestations characterized by bouts of inflammation in hyaline cartilage in multiple body sites, and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), another potentially life-threatening condition that occurs due to erratic activation of the immune system accompanied by pancytopenia. Both diseases constitute a real challenge to diagnose and treat. These entities, their associations, and treatment protocols and prognosis for them are highlighted.
CASE REPORT: A 16-year-old female presented with features and complications of both relapsing polychondritis (RP) and HLH including costochondritis, fever, splenomegaly, thrombocytopenia, and anemia. After admission to the intensive care unit, symptomatic management included paracetamol, intravenous fluids, prednisolone 60 mg orally, intravenous immune globlulin, and warfarin. Unfortunately, the patient developed acute myelogenous leukemia (FAB AML M5b) after a period of remission and died due to sepsis and multiorgan failure.
CONCLUSIONS: HLH and RP are two rare diseases that can present together. Whether this malignant process (AML) is a cause or a result of these diseases is unknown. In the case presented here, the patient developed features of AML after a period of remission from RP and HLH. This case report may provide perspective on diagnosis and treatment for clinicians faced with similar patients.

Keywords: Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute, Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic, Polychondritis, Relapsing