• Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation;
  • Chediak-Higashi syndrome

Chediak-Higashi syndrome (CHS) is a rare multiorgan disease entity with autosomal recessive inheritance characterized by oculocutaneous albinism, bleeding tendency, recurrent bacterial infections and various neurological symptoms. Intracellular vesicle formation is deficient, resulting in giant granules in many cells, e.g. giant melanosomes in the melanocytes. Diagnosis has been based on morphological examination of peripheral blood and bone marrow, with giant granules seen in cells of the myeloid lineage and in lymphocytes. The ultimate diagnostic test is to look for a mutated LYST gene. Most patients develop an accelerated phase of the disease with deposition of lymphohistiocytes in the liver, spleen, lymph nodes and bone marrow, resulting in hepatosplenomegaly, bone marrow infiltration and haemophagocytosis. Peripheral blood neutropenia becomes more profound as anaemia and thrombocytopenia develop. Most patients succumb before the age of 10 years. Four patients with CHS are described, one of whom is a long-term survivor after successful allogeneic bone marrow transplantation, two succumbed during the accelerated phase and one is living with a chronic form of the disease.

Conclusion: Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation from an HLA-matched sibling is the therapy of choice and should be performed early. If there is no matched family donor, an unrelated donor or a placental blood graft is a good alternative. The clinical picture of CHS is heterogeneous and therapeutic decisions need to be made on an individual basis.