Severe congenital neutropenia

Karl Welte, Cornelia Zeidler, David C Dale
Seminars in Hematology 2006, 43 (3): 189-95
Severe congenital neutropenia (CN) includes a variety of hematologic disorders characterized by severe neutropenia, with absolute neutrophil counts (ANC) below 0.5 x 10(9)/L, and associated with severe systemic bacterial infections from early infancy. One subtype of CN, Kostmann syndrome, is an autosomal recessive disorder, characterized histopathologically by early-stage maturation arrest of myeloid differentiation. CN with similar clinical features occurs as an autosomal dominant disorder and many sporadic cases also have been reported. This genetic heterogeneity suggests that several pathophysiological mechanisms may lead to this common clinical phenotype. Recent studies on the genetic bases of CN have detected inherited or spontaneous point mutations in the neutrophil elastase gene (ELA 2) in about 60% to 80% of patients and, less commonly, mutations in other genes. Acquisition of additional genetic defects during the course of the disease, for example, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) receptor gene mutations and cytogenetic aberrations, indicates an underlying genetic instability as a common feature for all congenital neutropenia subtypes. Data on more than 600 patients with CN collected by the Severe Chronic Neutropenia International Registry (SCNIR) demonstrate that, regardless of the particular CN subtype, more than 95% of these patients respond to recombinant human (rHu)G-CSF with ANCs that can be maintained above 1.0 x 10(9)/L. Adverse events include mild splenomegaly, osteoporosis, and malignant transformation into myelodysplasia (MDS)/leukemia. If and how G-CSF treatment impacts on these adverse events is not fully understood. In recent analyses the influence of the G-CSF dose required to achieve neutrophil response (ANC >1,000/microL) in the risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has been reported. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is still the only treatment available for patients who are refractory to G-CSF treatment.

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