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Chronic Myeloproliferative Disorders Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Chronic Eosinophilic Leukemia

Disease Overview

Chronic eosinophilic leukemia (CEL) is a chronic myeloproliferative disorder of unknown etiology in which a clonal proliferation of eosinophilic precursors results in persistently increased numbers of eosinophils in the blood, bone marrow, and peripheral tissues. In CEL, the eosinophil count is greater than or equal to 1.5 × 109 /L in the blood.[1] To make a diagnosis of CEL, there should be evidence for clonality of the eosinophils or an increase in blasts in the blood or bone marrow. In many cases, however, it is impossible to prove clonality of the eosinophils, in which case, if there is no increase in blast cells, the diagnosis of idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES) is preferred. Because of the difficulty in distinguishing CEL from HES, the true incidence of these diseases is unknown, though they are rare. In about 10% of patients, eosinophilia is detected incidentally. In others, the constitutional symptoms found include:[1,2]

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  • Fever.
  • Fatigue.
  • Cough.
  • Angioedema.
  • Muscle pains.
  • Pruritus.
  • Diarrhea.

No single or specific cytogenetic or molecular genetic abnormality has been identified in CEL.

(Refer to the PDQ summaries on Fever, Sweats, and Hot Flashes; Fatigue; Cardiopulmonary Syndromes; Pain; Pruritus; and Gastrointestinal Complications for information on many of the symptoms listed above.)

Treatment Overview

The optimal treatment of CEL remains uncertain, partially on account of the rare incidence of this chronic myeloproliferative disorder and the variable clinical course, which can range from cases with decades of stable disease to cases with rapid progression to acute leukemia. Case reports suggest that treatment options include bone marrow transplantation and interferon-alpha.[3,4]

Treatment of HES has included the following:[5,6]

Case reports suggest symptomatic responses to imatinib mesylate for patients with HES who have not responded to conventional options.[6,7,8][Level of evidence: 3iiiDiv] Imatinib mesylate acts as an inhibitor of a novel fusion tyrosine kinase, FIP1L1-PDGFR alpha fusion tyrosine kinase, which results as a consequence of interstitial chromosomal deletion.[6,9][Level of evidence: 3iiiDiv] HES with the FIP1L1-PDGFR alpha fusion tyrosine kinase translocation has been shown to respond to low-dose imatinib mesylate.[9]

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with chronic eosinophilic leukemia. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.

References:

  1. Bain B, Pierre P, Imbert M, et al.: Chronic eosinophillic leukaemia and the hypereosinophillic syndrome. In: Jaffe ES, Harris NL, Stein H, et al., eds.: Pathology and Genetics of Tumours of Haematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues. Lyon, France: IARC Press, 2001. World Health Organization Classification of Tumours, 3, pp 29-31.
  2. Weller PF, Bubley GJ: The idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome. Blood 83 (10): 2759-79, 1994.
  3. Basara N, Markova J, Schmetzer B, et al.: Chronic eosinophilic leukemia: successful treatment with an unrelated bone marrow transplantation. Leuk Lymphoma 32 (1-2): 189-93, 1998.
  4. Yamada O, Kitahara K, Imamura K, et al.: Clinical and cytogenetic remission induced by interferon-alpha in a patient with chronic eosinophilic leukemia associated with a unique t(3;9;5) translocation. Am J Hematol 58 (2): 137-41, 1998.
  5. Butterfield JH, Gleich GJ: Interferon-alpha treatment of six patients with the idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome. Ann Intern Med 121 (9): 648-53, 1994.
  6. Gotlib J, Cools J, Malone JM 3rd, et al.: The FIP1L1-PDGFRalpha fusion tyrosine kinase in hypereosinophilic syndrome and chronic eosinophilic leukemia: implications for diagnosis, classification, and management. Blood 103 (8): 2879-91, 2004.
  7. Gleich GJ, Leiferman KM, Pardanani A, et al.: Treatment of hypereosinophilic syndrome with imatinib mesilate. Lancet 359 (9317): 1577-8, 2002.
  8. Ault P, Cortes J, Koller C, et al.: Response of idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome to treatment with imatinib mesylate. Leuk Res 26 (9): 881-4, 2002.
  9. Cools J, DeAngelo DJ, Gotlib J, et al.: A tyrosine kinase created by fusion of the PDGFRA and FIP1L1 genes as a therapeutic target of imatinib in idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome. N Engl J Med 348 (13): 1201-14, 2003.
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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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