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Abstract

Disease overview: The eosinophilias encompass a broad range of nonhematologic (secondary or reactive) and hematologic (primary, clonal) disorders with potential for end-organ damage.

Diagnosis: Hypereosinophilia has generally been defined as a peripheral blood eosinophil count greater than 1,500/mm3 and may be associated with tissue damage. After exclusion of secondary causes of eosinophilia, diagnostic evaluation of primary eosinophilias relies on a combination of morphologic review of the blood and marrow, standard cytogenetics, fluorescent in situ-hybridization, flow immunocytometry, and T-cell clonality assessment to detect histopathologic or clonal evidence for an acute or chronic myeloid or lymphoproliferative disorder.

Risk stratification: Disease prognosis relies on identifying the subtype of eosinophilia. After evaluation of secondary causes of eosinophilia, the 2008 World Health Organization establishes a semimolecular classification scheme of disease subtypes including “myeloid and lymphoid neoplasms with eosinophilia and abnormalities of PDGFRA, PDGFRB, or FGFR1,” chronic eosinophilic leukemia, not otherwise specified' (CEL, NOS), lymphocyte-variant hypereosinophilia, and idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES), which is a diagnosis of exclusion.

Risk-adapted therapy: The goal of therapy is to mitigate eosinophil-mediated organ damage. For patients with milder forms of eosinophilia (e.g., <1,500/mm3) without symptoms or signs of organ involvement, a watch and wait approach with close-follow-up may be undertaken. Identification of rearranged PDGFRA or PDGFRB is critical because of the exquisite responsiveness of these diseases to imatinib. Corticosteroids are first-line therapy for patients with lymphocyte-variant hypereosinophilia and HES. Hydroxyurea and interferon-alpha have demonstrated efficacy as initial treatment and steroid-refractory cases of HES. In addition to hydroxyurea, second line cytotoxic chemotherapy agents and hematopoietic cell transplant have been used for aggressive forms of HES and CEL with outcomes reported for limited numbers of patients. Although clinical trials have been performed with anti IL-5 (mepolizumab) and anti-CD52 (alemtuzumab) antibodies, their therapeutic role in primary eosinophilic diseases and HES has yet to be established. Am. J. Hematol. 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.