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Leukemoid reaction

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Title: Leukemoid reaction  
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Subject: List of ICD-9 codes 280–289: diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs, Elevated alkaline phosphatase, Leukemid
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Leukemoid reaction

Leukemoid reaction
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 D72.8
ICD-9 288.62
DiseasesDB 30101
MedlinePlus 000575
MeSH D007955

The term leukemoid reaction describes an elevated white blood cell count, or leukocytosis, that is a physiological response to stress or infection (as opposed to a primary blood malignancy, such as leukemia).

It may be lymphoid or myeloid.[1]

Definition and diagnosis

Conventionally, a leukocytosis exceeding 50,000 WBC/mm3 with a significant increase in early neutrophil precursors is referred to as a leukemoid reaction.[2] The peripheral blood smear may show myelocytes, metamyelocytes, promyelocytes, and rarely myeloblasts; however, there is a mix of early mature neutrophil precursors, in contrast to the immature forms typically seen in acute leukemia. Serum leukocyte alkaline phosphatase is normal or elevated in leukemoid reaction, but is depressed in chronic myelogenous leukemia. The bone marrow in a leukemoid reaction, if examined, may be hypercellular but is otherwise typically unremarkable.

Leukemoid reactions are generally benign and are not dangerous in and of themselves, although they are often a response to a significant disease state (see Causes below). However, leukemoid reactions can resemble more serious conditions such as chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), which can present with identical findings on peripheral blood smear.

Historically, various clues including the leukocyte alkaline phosphatase score and the presence of basophilia were used to distinguish CML from a leukemoid reaction. However, at present the test of choice in adults to distinguish CML is an assay for the presence of the Philadelphia chromosome, either via cytogenetics and FISH, or via PCR for the BCR/ABL fusion gene. The LAP (Leukocyte Alkaline Phosphatase) score is high in reactive states but is low in CML. In cases where the diagnosis is uncertain, a qualified hematologist or oncologist should be consulted.

Causes of leukemoid reaction

As noted above, a leukemoid reaction is typically a response to an underlying medical issue. Causes of leukemoid reactions include:


  1. ^ Ian M. Hann; Owen P. Smith (26 September 2006). Pediatric hematology. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 763–. ISBN . Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  2. ^ Ronald Hoffman et al. (2005). Hematology: basic principles and practice. St. Louis, Mo: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone. ISBN .  p. 803.

See also

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