Therapeutic leukocytapheresis for improvement in respiratory function in a woman with hyperleukocytosis and mantle cell lymphoma with a circulating small lymphocyte phenotype

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Transfusion Medicine; Department of Pathology; Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology

Publication Date


Document Type



Hematology | Hemic and Immune Systems | Hemic and Lymphatic Diseases


Mantle cell lymphoma is an aggressive malignant B-cell disorder that often presents with a leukemic picture. Circulating lymphoma cell morphology may vary from small round mature-appearing lymphocytes resembling the lymphocytes of chronic lymphocytic leukemia to large prolymphocytoid or blastoid cells. Rare reports of hyperleukocytosis with leukostasis, treated with leukocytapheresis, are described in patients with prolymphocytoid or blastoid morphology. We report an 88 year old woman with mantle cell lymphoma, hyperleukocytosis (WBC > 400 x 103 /microL) with severe respiratory compromise but without interstitial or alveolar infiltrates on radiograph or computerized tomography of the chest. She was afebrile and had no central nervous system signs. Circulating lymphoma cell morphology was predominantly of the small lymphocyte type. A two-whole-blood-volume leukocytapheresis reduced her WBC from 465 to 221 x 103 /microL in 150 min. Her respiratory rate decreased from 28/min to 18/min and her arterial oxygen saturation (SpO2 ) rose from 91% to 97% on 6 L/min of oxygen by nasal cannula. Severe breathlessness before the procedure abated completely by the end of the procedure. Respiratory compromise may occur in mantle cell lymphoma with hyperleukocytosis with a mature lymphoma cell phenotype, even without a clear picture of leukostasis. Although the ultimate survival of the patient depends on treatment with chemotherapy, leukocytapheresis for alleviation of symptoms may be warranted and should be considered. Respiratory status and response to leukocytapheresis should be documented with physiological measurements.


apheresis, dyspnea, hematological malignancy, leukocytapheresis, leukostasis

DOI of Published Version



J Clin Apher. 2015 Aug 31. doi: 10.1002/jca.21411. Link to article on publisher's site. [Epub ahead of print]

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of clinical apheresis

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID