Large granular lymphocytic leukemia (LGL) is an uncommon type of chronic white blood cell malignancy that affects the lymphocytes (white blood cells). Lymphocytes are major components of our body’s immune system that help to combat certain infections. On cytological examination, LGL is defined by overly large lymphocytes, which consist of recognizable granules that can be seen when examining the blood under a microscope. It is further categorized into two types these are; T-cell (T-LGL) and natural killer cell lymphocytic leukemia (NK-LGL). This lymphocytic leukemia may be acute/aggressive (rapidly growing with severe symptoms) or chronic (slowly progressing with mild symptoms).
Among all types of leukemia, it makes 2-5%. It is equally frequent in both males and females. The average age at the diagnosis of the disease is 50 years.
There is no exact well-known cause of large granular lymphocytic leukemia. However, in 20% of cases, rheumatoid arthritis was recognized as a risk factor for the development of the disease.
Signs And Symptoms
Approximately 60-70% of patients are symptomatic. The patient may suffer from the following signs and symptoms.
- Symptoms of anemia like pallor, fatigue, and difficulty in breathing due to decreased red blood cells count.
- Neutropenia (decreased neutrophil count) which presents itself with fever and recurrent infections like sore throat, pain and burning while passing urine (due to urinary tract infection), diarrhea, and abdominal pain (due to gastrointestinal infections) and other bacterial and viral infections can occur.
- Some patients may have also had symptoms of an autoimmune disease named Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Patients suffering from aggressive T-cell or NK-cell LGL leukemia could have liver and spleen enlargement (hepatosplenomegaly), fever, unexpected weight loss, and night sweats.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Serological, radiological, and biopsy investigations are useful to diagnose. These are:
- Complete blood count (CBC) with peripheral smear and blood culture
- Blood coagulation profile
- LFT’s (Liver function tests) and RFT’s (Renal function tests)
- Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
- Chest X-ray, CT chest
- Flow cytometry
- Lumbar Puncture
Treatment options include chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation, Central nervous system prophylaxis, Immunosuppressive therapy supportive care, and treatment for relapse. Aggressive LGL is resistant to the treatment and shows poor prognosis.
What support can we give for Large Granular Lymphocytic Leukemia?
Large Granular Lymphocytic Leukemia is a rare cancer, meaning it is not as well known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organisation that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. We provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also provide annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from rare cancer such as Large Granular Lymphocytic Leukemia, we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
You can help us with your donation:
Without a Ribbon is a charity that works hard to aid those who suffer from rare cancers. You can help our cause in a variety of ways:
Donations — Without a Ribbon is grateful when we receive every donation. Giving to Without a Ribbon helps us to provide ongoing support, organise the annual gathering and subsidise the costs of our Warriors attending these conferences.
Sponsorship — If you wish to sponsor our charity, please contact us using this form.
Volunteering — We are always looking for volunteers to help with different aspects of running our charity. So, if you are looking for volunteer work, please feel free to contact us.