We analyzed a nationwide registry of pediatric patients with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) in Korea to assess the clinical and genetic features and treatment outcomes in pediatric HLH.Methods:
The Korea Histiocytosis Working Party retrospectively analyzed data on 251 pediatric patients diagnosed with HLH between 1996 and 2011.Results:
In the study cohort, 25 cases were categorized with familial HLH, 64 with presumed secondary HLH, and 162 with unspecified HLH. Of 217 evaluable patients, 91 (42%) had concomitant Epstein–Barr virus infection. Of 238 evaluable patients, central nervous system (CNS) involvement, which was more frequent in the familial group, was evident in 81 cases (34%). Genetic tests revealed a predominant UNC13D mutation with a high incidence of two recurrent splicing mutations (c.118-308C>T and c.754-1G>C). The 5-yr overall survival rate was 68% (38% in the familial group and 81% in the presumed secondary group). The 5-yr overall survival rate among 32 patients who underwent allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation was 64%. In multivariate analysis, a younger age at diagnosis, severe transaminasemia, and a coagulation abnormality were independent prognostic factors for survival. Responses during initial treatments were also significant indicators of outcome.Conclusion:
Our study showed the unique predominance of a UNC13D mutation and vulnerability to Epstein–Barr virus infection in Korean children with HLH and emphasizes the prognostic significance of age, liver dysfunction, and treatment responses in this disease. A multicenter prospective trial that builds on the present results is warranted to identify subgroups of patients with a poor prognosis and identify optimal treatments.