Bone marrow morphology is a strong discriminator between chronic eosinophilic leukemia, not otherwise specified and reactive idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome
Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic
Chronic eosinophilic leukemia, not otherwise specified can be difficult to distinguish from idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome according to the current World Health Organization guideline. To examine whether the morphological features of bone marrow might aid in the differential diagnosis of these two entities, we studied a total of 139 patients with a diagnosis of chronic eosinophilic leukemia, not otherwise specified (n=17) or idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome (n=122). As a group, abnormal bone marrow morphological features, resembling myelodysplastic syndromes, myeloproliferative neoplasm or myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasm, were identified in 40/139 (27%) patients: 16 (94%) of those with chronic eosinophilic leukemia and 24 (20%) of those with hypereosinophilic syndrome. Abnormal bone marrow correlated with older age (P<0.001), constitutional symptoms (P<0.001), anemia (P=0.041), abnormal platelet count (P=0.002), organomegaly (P=0.008), elevated lactate dehydrogenase concentration (P=0.005), abnormal karyotype (P<0.001), as well as the presence of myeloid neoplasm-related mutations (P<0.001). Patients with abnormal bone marrow had shorter survival (48.1 months versus not reached, P<0.001), a finding which was independent of other confounding factors (P<0.001). The association between abnormal bone marrow and shorter survival was also observed in hypereosinophilic syndrome patients alone. In summary, most patients with chronic eosinophilic leukemia, not otherwise specified and a proportion of those with idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome show abnormal bone marrow features similar to the ones encountered in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes, myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasm or BCR-ABL1-negative myeloproliferative neoplasm. Among patients who are currently considered to have idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome, abnormal bone marrow is a strong indicator of clonal hematopoiesis. Similar to other myeloid neoplasms, bone marrow morphology should be one of the major criteria to distinguish patients with chronic eosinophilic leukemia, not otherwise specified or clonal hypereosinophilic syndrome from those with truly reactive idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome.