Two Brothers with Atypical UNC13D-Related Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis Characterized by Massive Lung and Brain Involvement

Giuliana Giardino, Maia De Luca, Emilia Cirillo, Paolo Palma, Roberta Romano, Massimiliano Valeriani, Laura Papetti, Carol Saunders, Caterina Cancrini, Claudio Pignata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a potentially fatal hyperinflammatory condition. Variants in different genes have been associated with the familial forms of the syndrome (FHL), usually presenting within the first 2 years of life. Due to increasing awareness of the signs and symptoms of HLH and a better understanding of the genetic basis of the disease, FHL has been increasingly diagnosed in patients presenting beyond infancy. Here, we report on two brothers with atypical, late-onset HLH in which whole exome sequencing revealed a homozygous pathogenic UNC13D variant. In the first brother, the clinical phenotype was dominated by a massive lung involvement. In the second brother a progressive neurological deterioration was observed. In both cases, the clinical manifestations at symptom onset were misleading, making the diagnosis difficult to achieve. This report expands the spectrum of clinical presentations of FLH3. Moreover, it highlights the importance to warn clinicians to keep a high level of suspicion in patients presenting with fever, cytopenia, splenomegaly of unknown origin, and unresponsiveness to conventional treatment even beyond early childhood. Moreover, this report emphasizes that insidious neurologic symptoms may represent the initial or sole presenting sign of FHL, even in the absence of peripheral signs of activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1892
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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