Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis & ovarian adenocarcinoma


Ovarian most cancers is essentially the most deadly malignant strong tumor and the main mortality fee amongst gynecological malignant tumors,1,2 regardless of the secure nature of the worldwide incidence of ovarian most cancers throughout the previous many years.3 Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a uncommon, life-threatening syndrome ensuing from an excessive hyperinflammatory situation, subsequent tissue infiltration, and multi-organ failure. Malignancy-associated HLH (M-HLH) is a reactive HLH (rHLH) and in addition secondary HLH (sHLH), which is principally related to hematologic cancers, lymphomas, and a number of myeloma.4–8 To one of the best of the authors’ information, no revealed literature has described the affiliation between rHLH and ovarian adenocarcinoma. This paper presents a scientific case to display this affiliation to boost consciousness of the syndrome amongst hematologists, oncologists, and different clinicians.

Case Report

A 34-year-old Chinese language girl introduced with a everlasting fever over 20 days, was acutely dizzy for at some point and had low crimson blood cell (RBC), hemoglobin (Hgb), and platelet (Plt) counts. She was admitted to the Division of Hematology at Shanxi Province Fenyang Hospital. She claimed intermittent fever with a most temperature of 38.0℃, primarily at midday and at night time. 13 days prior, the affected person had been hospitalized for 3 days resulting from an an infection, and at discharge, her full blood cell (CBC) depend was inside the reference ranges. Someday prior, she had immediately felt dizzy and sweaty, which ceased after roughly 5 minutes. The outpatient examination revealed an irregular CBC depend.

On the preliminary bodily examination, the affected person had a temperature of 36.7℃, a pulse of 140 beats per minute, a respiration fee of 20 incursions per minute, and a blood strain of 109/85 mmHg. She had an anemic look and optimistic tenderness on the sternum. Her respiration and coronary heart sounds have been primarily regular. Her thoughts was clear, and no different apparent abnormalities have been detected throughout the remainder of the bodily examination.

Preliminary laboratory findings confirmed noticeably elevated counts associated to white blood cells, neutrophils, monocytes, a decreased RBC depend, a decreased Hgb focus, and decrease Plt depend. Each the depend and share of reticulocytes have been markedly greater than the reference ranges. Biochemistry assay, serum alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), alpha-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase, creatine kinase isoenzyme MB, glucose, C-reactive protein, and procalcitonin ranges have been noticeably greater. A chemiluminescent immunoassay revealed mildly elevated serum carcinoembryonic antigen, an especially excessive carbohydrate antigen 125 and ferritin ranges. As well as, the case initially additionally revealed a protracted prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time, and elevated D-dimer ranges (Desk 1). Viral respiratory pathogen panels, an autoimmune ailments workup, human immunodeficiency virus, syphilis, and viral hepatitis panels have been additionally despatched, all of which got here again detrimental.

Desk 1 Laboratory Discovering on Admission

An belly ultrasound confirmed an elevated liver parenchyma echo, splenomegaly, a small quantity of effusion in the correct iliac fossa, and a bilateral pelvic-cyst strong mass (Determine 1). Computed tomography scanning confirmed an effusion of bilateral thoracic cavities (Determine 2). Moreover, magnetic resonance imaging confirmed irregular indicators of the bilateral appendages, irregular lymph node shadows of the lesser curvature of the abdomen within the belly cavity, a number of small nodule shadows within the higher omentum, lesser omentum, and mesentery, irregular sign shadows within the pelvis, sacrum, thoracic vertebrae, and lumbar vertebrae, and effusion within the belly and pelvic cavities (Determine 3).

Determine 1 Left pelvic cyst-solid mass with ultrasound (dimension 16.3×9.7×7.6 cm). Criss-cross: left pelvic cyst-solid mass.

Determine 2 CT confirmed effusion of bilateral thoracic cavities (yellow arrow).

Determine 3 MRI confirmed irregular indicators of bilateral appendages, a number of small nodule shadows in higher omentum, lesser omentum and mesentery, irregular sign shadows in pelvis, sacrum, thoracic vertebrae and lumbar vertebrae, effusion in belly, pelvic cavities. (A) T1WI, (B) T2WI, (C) STIR, (D) T1+ C. White arrow: iliac bone metastasis.

Based mostly on the above observations, this case was recognized as ovarian most cancers with a excessive suspicion of HLH. To begin a particular remedy, it was essential to affirm the prevalence of HLH, for which exterior laboratory exams have been required. The affected person’s serum triglyceride stage was 1.46 mmol/L, which was inside the reference vary. Epstein–Barr virus deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and cytomegalovirus DNA have been detrimental. Peripheral lymphocyte subsets revealed that percentages of CD4+T (helper T, Th), CD8+T (cytotoxicity T, Tc) and B cells have been barely greater, pure killer (NK) percentages and counts have been noticeably decreased, and the remaining lymphocyte subsets and CD4/CD8 have been inside the reference ranges (Desk 2). Bone marrow cytomorphology revealed clustered irregular cells and hemophagocytes, primarily RBC and hemosiderin within the cytoplasm (Determine 4). The histopathological findings of ultrasound-guided puncture biopsy specimens on Hematoxylin and Eosin staining confirmed ovarian adenocarcinoma. Over the next 5 days, her ferritin stage elevated, and her RBC and platelet counts and fibrinogen ranges decreased. Her physique temperature remained between 36.5℃ and 36.9℃.

Desk 2 Lymphocyte Subsets Outcomes

Determine 4 The bone marrow confirmed clustered irregular cells (A) and haemophagocytes (B) (Wright-Giemsa staining, unique magnification x 1000).

The case met 6 of the 8 HLH-2004 diagnostic standards (fever, splenomegaly, bicytopenia, hemophagocytes in bone marrow, low NK cell exercise, and hyperferritinemia)9 and the presentation was suitable with rHLH, regardless of an HScore10 rating of solely 131. She was recognized with rHLH (sHLH) secondary to ovarian adenocarcinoma and handled to appropriate anemia and improve platelets; glucocorticoid remedy was additionally included. Sadly, no apparent enchancment occurred, and her situation worsened. On day 15 of admission, she was discharged voluntarily. The affected person died 55 days later.

All procedures that have been carried out for the present case have been in accordance with the moral requirements of the institutional and nationwide analysis committee(s) and with the Declaration of Helsinki (as revised in 2013). Written knowledgeable consent for information publication was obtained from the affected person’s relative as a result of she had died 55 days following discharge from the hospital.


The incidence of HLH in adults shouldn’t be exactly identified. Nonetheless, a Japanese observational research reported that as much as 40% of HLH instances occurred in adults.11,12 Among the many precipitating elements for grownup HLH, malignancy was associated to 44% of instances.13 And 0.9% of grownup sufferers have been hematologic cancers, largely acute myeloid leukemia/myelodysplastic syndrome and T-lymphoma, and a few diffuse giant B-cell lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, persistent lymphocytic leukemia, follicular lymphoma, and splenic marginal B-cell lymphoma.14,15 Amongst neoplasia instances in intensive care items (ICUs), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was predominant (23%).16

The affiliation of rHLH with malignant hematopathy has been properly established. Different malignancies that will trigger HLH are very uncommon. A 25-year-long follow-up research revealed that just one case in 1206 a number of myeloma sufferers occurred HLH. Sakai et al discovered {that a} 51-year-old man with hepatocellular carcinoma incurred HLH.17 Equally, solely three instances with prostate most cancers have been described as having rHLH within the literature.18–20 One HLH case involving ovarian most cancers was reported in 2016 and was related to ovarian dysgerminoma.21 The authors report within the present research an ovarian adenocarcinoma case that introduced an early and weird complication that was characterised by HLH. To one of the best of the authors’ information, that is the primary time the connection between rHLH and ovarian adenocarcinoma has been described within the literature. Nonetheless, the novelty of this case within the affiliation of rHLH and ovarian adenocarcinoma will increase questions for future hematology and oncology contexts.

Current revealed literature recognized HLH in response to organic findings (bicytopenia, cytolysis, elevated LDH, and ferritin ranges), in addition to utilizing cytological proof of macrophages within the bone marrow.8,17–20 Fever, splenomegaly, cytopenia, and hyperferritinaemia22 are widespread options for indicating the presence of most cancers or HLH. The current research case was recognized with ovarian most cancers, based mostly on the accessible data when the affected person first introduced to Shanxi Province Fenyang Hospital. Whether or not she had sHLH (or rHLH) required further affirmation. The affected person met 6 of the 8 HLH-2004 diagnostic standards for HLH,9 regardless of having had a low HScore (131).10 Low HScores have additionally been noticed in different instances with rHLH (sHLH).23–25 Making an HLH prognosis may be very troublesome, significantly for critically unwell grownup sufferers (together with these with neoplasm) as a result of scientific findings should exclude a variety of differential diagnoses, whereas laboratory abnormalities lack specificity. In adults, HLH is characterised by extreme immune activation and a sepsis-like syndrome, resulting in excessive numbers of undiagnosed instances and mortality charges of as much as 68%.16 Within the ICU, undiagnosed charges of HLH have been as excessive as 77.8%.26 Early prognosis and particular immunosuppressive remedy will help to keep away from poor outcomes; nevertheless, the diagnostic standards (HLH-2004) are adopted from pediatric HLH. The HScore, additionally adopted from pediatrics, can be utilized to estimate an rHLH threat; nevertheless, this may occasionally trigger lacking prognosis for some rHLH instances lower than HScore 146.10 At the moment, there’s a lack of particular diagnostic exams and no established legitimate diagnostic standards for detecting HLH in adults.

Grownup HLH may be very completely different from the illness in kids. Lachmann et al established one protocol and tried to analyze biomarkers for the diagnoses of crucial HLH in adults.27 These diagnostic biomarkers for critically unwell sufferers within the ICU included11 laboratory panels, which can be helpful for diagnosing critically unwell grownup sufferers, equivalent to the present case, sooner or later.

The pathophysiology of HLH contains the actions of macrophages, NK cells, cytotoxic T cells (Tc) cells, and altered numbers of CD4 and CD8 cells.28 Investigators have discovered that NK cells from adults with HLH exhibited an activated phenotype and regular cytotoxic capability. In distinction, NK cell numbers and interferon-γ manufacturing are enormously diminished.29 Sustained over-activated Tc cells and macrophages, and the resultant inflammatory cytokine launch, are core pathogeneses that normally trigger tissue injury, very important scientific options (fever, hepatosplenomegaly, cytopenia, elevated ALT, AST and ferritin ranges, and coagulopathy), and even organ failure.30 This may increasingly have been the case for the affected person within the present research. Tc or NK cells can not take away activated macrophages, giving rise to enhanced macrophage exercise and elevating varied cytokines ranges.31 The current case had regular Tc cells and abnormally low NK cell exercise/depend. As a subset of complete innate lymphoid cells, NK cells are at present outlined as effector cells which might be much like Tc cells and exert pure cytotoxicity towards main tumor cells and metastasis by inhibiting proliferation, migration, and colonization to distant tissues.32 Pure killer cells have twin roles, ie, controlling most cancers growth and development and selling the onset of immune-suppressant tumor microenvironments.33 The variety of and low exercise of NK cells within the current case might have resulted from ovarian cancer-associated exhaustion and the improved macrophage activation related to HLH.

Reticulocytes are the youngest erythrocytes within the peripheral blood launched from the bone marrow, which displays the erythropoietic exercise of bone marrow. The reticulocyte depend distinguishes issues ensuing from the speedy destruction or lack of RBCs brought on by bone marrow failure, excessive being thought of as hemolysis and low as bone marrow despair.34 Being the important thing HLH characteristic, histiocytes or macrophages (hemophagocytes) engulfing RBCs trigger hemolysis and extreme anemia, whereas markedly elevated reticulocyte depend was additionally present in some research35,36 simply as within the current case, which steered that reticulocytosis is likely to be a HLH attribute.


In conclusion, HLH is said to strong tumor varieties that very hardly ever happen. To the authors’ information, this case is the primary HLH secondary to ovarian adenocarcinoma and the second to ovarian most cancers. It is vitally vital for a greater understanding of the illness mechanisms of HLH. Moreover, within the context of malignancies, together with ovarian most cancers, HLH should be recognized promptly by hematologists, oncologists, or different clinicians in order that particular remedy may be began promptly to regulate the illness, interrupt its development, and scale back the price of treating it.


HLH, haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis; rHLH, reactive haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis HLH; M-HLH, malignancy-associated haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis; NK, nature killer; MOF, multi-organ failure; sHLH, secondary haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis; RBC, crimson blood cell; Hgb, hemoglobin; Plt, platelet; CBC, full blood cells; WBC, white blood cell; ALT, alanine transaminase; AST, aspartate aminotransferase; ALP, alkaline phosphatase; γ-GGT, γ- glutamyl transpeptidase; LDH, lactate dehydrogenase; α-HBDH, α-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase; CK-MB, creatine kinase isoenzyme MB; Glu, glucose; CRP, C response protein; CEA, carcinoembryonic antigen; CA, carbohydrate antigen; PT, prothrombin time; APTT, activated partial thromboplastic time; US, belly ultrasound; CT, computed tomography; MRI, magnetic resonance imaging; EBV, Epstein Barr virus; Th, helper T; Tc, cytotoxicity T; ICU, Intensive Care Items; IFN-γ, interferon-γ.

Information Sharing Assertion

All information throughout the research are included inside the article.

Ethics Approval and Consent to Take part

Written knowledgeable consent was obtained from the affected person’s relative as a result of she died previous to submission of the case report, and authorised by Shanxi Province Fenyang Hospital Ethics Committee (No. 2021051). Further knowledgeable consent was obtained from the affected person’s relative for whom figuring out data is included on this article.

Consent for Publication

The affected person’s relative has given the consent for the case report back to be revealed. The written knowledgeable consent to publish this data was obtained from this affected person’s relative.


No exterior funding was acquired to conduct this research.


The authors report no conflicts of curiosity on this work.


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