Analysis of triglyceride value in the diagnosis and treatment response of secondary hemophagocytic syndrome

Muneo Okamoto, Hiroki Yamaguchi, Yasushi Isobe, Norio Yokose, Taro Mizuki, Kenji Tajika, Seiji Gomi, Hiroyuki Hamaguchi, Koiti Inokuchi, Kazuo Oshimi, Kazuo Dan
Internal Medicine 2009, 48 (10): 775-81

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Secondary hemophagocytic syndrome (hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, HLH) follows viral infection, malignant disorders, and autoimmune disease. Criteria for HLH diagnosis, which were proposed in 2004, include hypertriglyceridemia. However, some studies reported the absence of hypertriglyceridemia in patients with secondary HLH, differing from those with primary HLH.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: In this study, we investigated the presence or absence of hypertriglyceridemia in 28 patients who were diagnosed with secondary HLH between 1997 and 2007 retrospectively. There were no patients undergoing treatment for those with a history of hyperlipidemia.

RESULTS: The subjects consisted of 14 patients with lymphoma-associated HLH, 11 with virus-associated HLH, 2 with autoimmune disease-associated HLH, and 1 with post transplantation HLH. In 19 patients (68%), hypertriglyceridemia was noted on diagnosis or during the disease period (mean: 242 mg/dL). Furthermore, the triglyceride (TG) level decreased with the treatment-related amelioration of HLH (mean level before and after treatment: 297 and 136 mg/dL, respectively, p=0.0001).

CONCLUSION: These results suggest that the TG level is useful for diagnosing HLH and evaluating the treatment response. TG measurement is simple and inexpensive; therefore, this parameter can be determined several times to evaluate the treatment response.

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