Chronic neutrophilic leukemia: 2022 update on diagnosis, genomic landscape, prognosis, and management

Natasha Szuber, Michelle Elliott, Ayalew Tefferi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Disease Overview: Chronic neutrophilic leukemia (CNL) is a rare, often aggressive myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) defined by persistent mature neutrophilic leukocytosis, bone marrow granulocyte hyperplasia, and frequent hepatosplenomegaly. The 2013 seminal discovery of oncogenic driver mutations in colony-stimulating factor 3 receptor (CSF3R) in the majority of patients with CNL not only established its molecular pathogenesis but provided a diagnostic biomarker and rationale for pharmacological targeting. Diagnosis: In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized activating CSF3R mutations as a central diagnostic feature of CNL. Other criteria include leukocytosis of ≥25 × 109/L comprising >80% neutrophils with <10% circulating precursors and rare blasts, and absence of dysplasia or monocytosis, while not fulfilling criteria for other MPN. Management: There is currently no standard of care for management of CNL, due in large part to the rarity of disease and dearth of formal clinical trials. Most commonly used therapeutic agents include conventional oral chemotherapy (e.g., hydroxyurea), interferon, and Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, while hematopoietic stem cell transplant remains the only potentially curative modality. Disease Updates: Increasingly comprehensive genetic profiling in CNL, including new data on clonal evolution, has disclosed a complex genomic landscape with additional mutations and combinations thereof driving disease progression and drug resistance. Although accurate prognostic stratification and therapeutic decision-making remain challenging in CNL, emerging data on molecular biomarkers and the addition of newer agents, such as JAK inhibitors, to the therapeutic arsenal, are paving the way toward greater standardization and improvement of patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-505
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican journal of hematology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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