Outcomes in children with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis treated using HLH-2004 protocol in Japan

HLH/LCH committee members of the Japan Children’s Cancer Group

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Recent advances in intensive chemo- and immunotherapy have contributed to the outcome of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH); however, the prognosis of HLH in children differs by HLH subtype. In Japan, secondary HLH, particularly Epstein–Barr virus-associated HLH (EBV-HLH), is the most common HLH subtype. The prognosis of HLH has improved in recent years. We here conducted a prospective study of 73 patients who were treated with HLH-2004 protocol in Japan. EBV-HLH, familial HLH (FHL), and HLH of unknown etiology were seen in 41, 9, and 23 patients, respectively. Patients with resistant or relapsed disease after HLH-2004 treatment and those with FHL received hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). The induction rate after initial therapy was 58.9%, and the 3-year overall survival (OS) rate of all patients was 73.9% and differed significantly among those with EBV-HLH, FHL, and HLH of unknown etiology. Of the 17 patients who received HSCT, the 3-year OS rates of those with and without complete resolution before HSCT were 83.3% and 54.5%, respectively. Outcomes in children with HLH who were treated with the same protocol differed among HLH subtypes. Appropriate strategy for each subtype should be established in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-213
Number of pages8
JournalInternational journal of hematology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 20 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hematology


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