JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

World Health Organization-defined eosinophilic disorders: 2014 update on diagnosis, risk stratification, and management

Jason Gotlib
American Journal of Hematology 2014, 89 (3): 325-37
24577808

DISEASE OVERVIEW: The eosinophilias encompass a broad range of nonhematologic (secondary or reactive) and hematologic (primary, clonal) disorders with potential for end-organ damage.

DIAGNOSIS: Hypereosinophilia (HE) has generally been defined as a peripheral blood eosinophil count greater than 1,500/mm(3) and may be associated with tissue damage. After exclusion of secondary causes of eosinophilia, diagnostic evaluation of primary eosinophilias relies on a combination of morphologic review of the blood and marrow, standard cytogenetics, fluorescent in situ hybridization, flow immunocytometry, and T-cell clonality assessment to detect histopathologic or clonal evidence for an acute or chronic myeloid or lymphoproliferative disorder.

RISK STRATIFICATION: Disease prognosis relies on identifying the subtype of eosinophilia. After evaluation of secondary causes of eosinophilia, the 2008 World Health Organization establishes a semimolecular classification scheme of disease subtypes including "myeloid and lymphoid neoplasms with eosinophilia and abnormalities of PDGFRA, PDGFRB, or FGFR1', chronic eosinophilic leukemia, not otherwise specified" (CEL, NOS), lymphocyte-variant HE, and idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES), which is a diagnosis of exclusion.

RISK-ADAPTED THERAPY: The goal of therapy is to mitigate eosinophil-mediated organ damage. For patients with milder forms of eosinophilia (e.g., <1,500/mm(3)) without symptoms or signs of organ involvement, a watch and wait approach with close-follow-up may be undertaken. Identification of rearranged PDGFRA or PDGFRB is critical because of the exquisite responsiveness of these diseases to imatinib. Corticosteroids are first-line therapy for patients with lymphocyte-variant HE and HES. Hydroxyurea and interferon-alpha have demonstrated efficacy as initial treatment and steroid-refractory cases of HES. In addition to hydroxyurea, second-line cytotoxic chemotherapy agents and hematopoietic cell transplant have been used for aggressive forms of HES and CEL with outcomes reported for limited number of patients. Although clinical trials have been performed with anti-IL-5 (mepolizumab) and anti-CD52 (alemtuzumab) antibodies, their therapeutic role in primary eosinophilic diseases and HES has yet to be established.

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