Autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS) represents a failure of apoptotic mechanisms to maintain lymphocyte homeostasis, permitting accumulation of lymphoid mass and persistence of autoreactive cells that often manifest in childhood with chronic nonmalignant lymphadenopathy, hepatosplenomegaly, and recurringmultilineage cytopenias. Cytopenias in these patients can be the result of splenic sequestration as well as autoimmune complications manifesting as autoimmune hemolytic anemia, immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, and autoimmune neutropenia. More than 300 families with hereditary ALPS have now been described; nearly 500 patients from these families have been studied and followed worldwide over the last 20 years by our colleagues and ourselves. Some of these patients with FAS mutations affecting the intracellular portion of the FAS protein also have an increased risk of B-cell lymphoma.
The best approaches to diagnosis, followup, and management of ALPS, its associated cytopenias, and other complications resulting from infiltrative lymphoproliferation and autoimmunity are presented. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrial.gov as #NCT00001350. (Blood. 2011;118(22): 5741-5751)
BLOOD, 24 NOVEMBER 2011 , VOLUME 118, NUMBER 22