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Successful treatment of recurrent CNS disease post-bone marrow transplant in children with familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2016 12;63(12):2154-2158



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84983551835   3 Citations


BACKGROUND: Central nervous system (CNS) involvement is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). Current standard of care for CNS disease utilizes high-dose systemic dexamethasone plus intrathecal methotrexate and hydrocortisone prior to transplantation. However, the morbidity and mortality remains high and there are no clear guidelines posttransplantation for screening and treatment of CNS disease.

PROCEDURE: We report a single-center retrospective case series of five patients with familial HLH (FHLH) who had CNS involvement post-bone marrow transplantation (BMT). All patients were monitored with monthly lumbar punctures (LPs) prior to developing neurologic symptoms. Treatment utilized systemic dexamethasone for CNS disease control.

RESULTS: Five patients were monitored with monthly or bimonthly surveillance LPs and treated with systemic dexamethasone to control CNS relapse post-BMT. All patients are alive, a median of 34 months posttransplant (range 14-66 months). Four patients have mild neurological deficits, including mild speech delay (3) and one patient who exhibited brainstem herniation on day 0, due to CNS HLH, has made a substantial recovery of function with residual deficits of focal weakness on the right side. One patient has no deficits.

CONCLUSION: Our data support vigilant screening posttransplant for occult CNS disease prior to the development of symptoms and the use of systemic dexamethasone to reverse disease progression. Future prospective trials are needed to evaluate this treatment strategy.

Author List

Bock AM, LeVeque M, Camitta B, Talano JA


Julie-An M. Talano MD Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Bone Marrow Transplantation
Brain Diseases
Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic
Retrospective Studies