Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood cells. Leukaemia starts when normal healthy blood cells change and grow uncontrollably.
About blood cells
Blood cells are form in the bone marrow. They are the red, spongy tissue inside the long bones in the body. Changes in the bone marrow cells can result in too few or too many specific blood cells. There are different types of blood cells –
- White blood cells that fight infection
- Red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body
- Platelets that help the blood to clot
Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell or leukocyte. They respond to infections, especially those involving parasites, and also play a role in allergic reactions. Eosinophils typically make up less than 5 percent of all white blood cells. Eosinophilic leukaemia is a cancer of the blood characterized by a high number of eosinophils in the blood, bone marrow, and other tissues. When levels of eosinophils are higher than usual, it’s called eosinophilia. An average level of eosinophils is measured in a complete blood count of 350 to 500 cells per cubic millimetre (mm3). A person has eosinophilia when a complete blood count finds that eosinophil levels are above 500 mm3.
In addition to the usual effects of leukaemia, having high levels of eosinophils can also damage health. This is because eosinophils can secrete chemicals that harm various tissues and organs. Chronic eosinophilic leukaemia usually progresses slowly and may stay the same for many years. It may change quickly into acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML) in some people.
Eosinophilic leukemia is a rare type of leukemia characterized by the abnormal proliferation of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell. Eosinophils are a component of the immune system and are responsible for combating parasitic infections and regulating allergic responses. In eosinophilic leukemia, there is an uncontrolled growth of eosinophils in the bone marrow, leading to an increased number of these cells in the blood and other tissues. This condition is considered a subtype of chronic myeloproliferative disorders.
The exact cause of eosinophilic leukemia is unknown. However, some cases have been associated with certain genetic abnormalities, such as rearrangements of the PDGFRA or PDGFRB genes. These genetic alterations can lead to the overproduction and activation of eosinophils. Symptoms of eosinophilic leukemia can vary but often include fatigue, fever, night sweats, weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes, and skin rashes. The increased number of eosinophils can also cause damage to various organs, such as the heart, lungs, liver, and spleen.
The diagnosis of eosinophilic leukemia typically involves a combination of blood tests, bone marrow biopsy, and genetic testing to identify any specific genetic abnormalities. Treatment options may include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, corticosteroids, and stem cell transplantation, depending on the severity of the disease and the presence of specific genetic mutations.
Due to the rarity of eosinophilic leukemia, there is limited research and understanding of this condition. The prognosis can vary depending on the subtype and stage of the disease, as well as individual factors. It is important for individuals diagnosed with eosinophilic leukemia to work closely with their healthcare team to determine the most appropriate treatment plan and to receive ongoing monitoring and support.