Clinical spectrum of clonal proliferations of T-large granular lymphocytes: A T-cell clonopathy of undetermined significance?

Madhav V. Dhodapkar, Chin Yang Li, John A. Lust, Ayalew Tefferi, Robert L. Phyliky

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244 Scopus citations


We identified 68 patients with clonal T-large granular lymphocyte (T-LGL) proliferations who were seen at the Mayo Clinic between 1984 and 1992. Nineteen (28%) were asymptomatic at diagnosis, while the rest experienced fatigue (60%), B-symptoms (12%), and recurrent infections (15%). Associated comorbid conditions included rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in 26%. Severe anemia (hemoglobin [Hb] < 8g/dL) and neutopenia (absolute neutrophil count [ANC] <500/μL) were seen in 19% and 40% of patients, respectively. Immunophenotypic studies showed CD3+, CD8+ phenotype in the majority (72%). Twenty-one patients (31%) have required no therapy, and remain relatively stable with a median follow-up period of 50 months. Treatment was required at either diagnosis (36 patients) or at subsequent follow-up (11 patients). Initial response rates were similar in patients treated with cyclophosphamide (CTX) with or without prednisone (69%), or prednisone alone (73%). Overall, 61 patients (90%) are alive with a median follow-up of 44 months. Actuarial median survival of this entire cohort is 161 months. The presence of anemia or symptoms does not appear to correlate with the tumor burden. In patients requiring therapy, a lower ANC and the presence of B-symptoms/infection were independently associated with a significantly lower probability of achieving a molecular or hematologic complete remission (H-CR). Intermittent immunosuppressive therapy is effective in achieving durable responses in a number of patients. T-LGL proliferations are associated with a favorable prognosis and response to therapy. However, significant heterogeneity exists in clinical presentation and associated comorbid conditions. These disorders should be included in the differential diagnosis of patients with unexplained cytopenias, particularly in the setting of RA and other autoimmune disorders. Analogous to the situation with monoclonal gammopathies, a term such as T- cell clonopathy of undetermined significance (TCUS) may be more appropriate to describe these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1620-1627
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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