Patients with large granular lymphocytic leukemia (LGLL) frequently present with neutropenia. When present, anemia is usually accompanied by neutropenia and/or thrombocytopenia and isolated anemia is uncommon. We evaluated a cohort of 244 LGLL patients spanning 15 years and herein report the clinicopathologic features of 34 (14%) with isolated anemia. The patients with isolated anemia showed a significantly male predominance (p = 0.001), a lower level of hemoglobulin (p < 0.0001) and higher MCV (p = 0.017) and were less likely to have rheumatoid arthritis (p = 0.023) compared to the remaining 210 patients. Of the 34 LGLL patients with isolated anemia, 13 (38%) presented with pure red cell aplasia (PRCA), markedly decreased reticulocyte count and erythroid precursors, and more transfusion-dependence when compared to non-PRCA patients. There was no other significant clinicopathologic difference between PRCA and non-PRCA patients. 32 patients were followed for a median duration of 51 months (6–199). 24 patients were treated (11/11 PRCA and 13/21 non-PRCA patients, p < 0.02). The overall response rate to first-line therapy was 83% [8/11 (72.7%) for PRCA, 12/13 (92.3%) for non-PRCA], including 14 showing complete response and 6 showing partial response with a median response duration of 48 months (12–129). Half of non-PRCA patients who were observed experienced progressive anemia. During follow-up, no patients developed neutropenia; however, 5/27 (18.5%) patients developed thrombocytopenia. No significant difference in overall survival was noted between PRCA and non-PRCA patients. In summary, this study demonstrates the unique features of LGLL with isolated anemia and underscores the importance of recognizing LGLL as a potential cause of isolated anemia, which may benefit from disease-specific treatment. LGLL patients with PRCA were more likely to require treatment but demonstrated similar clinicopathologic features, therapeutic responses, and overall survival compared to isolated anemia without PRCA, suggesting PRCA and non-PRCA of T-LGLL belong to a common disease spectrum.
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