The effect of therapeutic leukapheresis on early complications and outcomes in patients with acute leukemia and hyperleukocytosis: a propensity score-matched study

Min Hyuk Choi, Yeon Hwa Choe, Yongjung Park, Hyunjin Nah, Sinyoung Kim, Seok Hoon Jeong, Hyun Ok Kim

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BACKGROUND: Hyperleukocytosis in acute leukemia is associated with higher early mortality due to the major complications of leukostasis, tumor lysis syndrome (TLS), and disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC). Leukapheresis remains an important modality for the management of patients with acute leukemia and hyperleukocytosis. However, the role of leukapheresis in early mortality is controversial. This study sought to evaluate the prognostic impact of leukapheresis and its beneficial effects on TLS and DIC. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: We conducted a propensity score-matched study of 166 patients with acute leukemia and hyperleukocytosis admitted between 2006 and 2016. The incidence of TLS and DIC was determined using well-defined Cairo-Bishop criteria for TLS and International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis criteria for DIC. RESULTS: Before matching, 27 of 91 patients (30%) with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and 32 of 75 patients (43%) with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) underwent leukapheresis. Propensity score matching was performed to adjust for clinical disparities between the leukapheresis and without-leukapheresis groups and resulted in 22 matched pairs of patients with AML and 16 matched pairs of patients with ALL. After matching, we observed no significant difference in early mortality rates or in the incidence of TLS or DIC between the two groups of patients with AML and ALL. CONCLUSION: Although leukapheresis may rapidly reduce white blood cell counts and leukemic blasts, any positive influence of leukapheresis could not be demonstrated by an effect on survival outcome and the incidence of early complications, such as TLS and DIC. These results suggest that a routinely performed, prophylactic leukapheresis cannot be recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-216
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology

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