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Large granular lymphocyte leukemia: natural history and response to treatment.Large granular lymphocyte leukemia (T-LGL) is an indolent T lymphoproliferative disorder that was difficult to diagnose with certainty until clonality testing of the T cell receptor gene became routinely available. We studied the natural history and response to treatment in 25 consecutive patients with T-LGL diagnosed between 2004 and 2008 in which the diagnosis was confirmed by molecular analysis, to define an effective treatment algorithm. The median age at diagnosis was 61 years (range 27-78), with a male to female ratio of 1:1.8 and presenting features of fatigue (n = 13), recurrent infections (n = 9), and/or abnormal blood counts (n = 5). Thirteen patients with symptomatic disease were treated as follows: pentostatin (nine patients), cyclosporine (six patients), methotrexate (three patients), and alemtuzumab in two patients in whom pentostatin was ineffective. Pentostatin was the single most effective therapy, with a response rate of 75% and minimal toxicity. The overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) 37 months from diagnosis were 80% and 52%, respectively. Treatment of T-LGL should be reserved for patients with symptomatic disease, but in this series, pentostatin treatment was less toxic and more effective than cyclosporine or methotrexate.
Treatment of relapsing polychondritis in the era of biological agents.Relapsing polychondritis (RP) is a rare disorder, often requiring high doses of immunosuppressive therapy to control its potentially life-threatening consequences. The advent of biological agents has added to the armamentarium available to treat RP, but the lack of controlled trials, along with the small numbers of patients and disease heterogeneity means that new therapies are prescribed without the benefits of rigorous clinical research. Thus, information on individual cases is of value in expanding our knowledge of the use of biologic agents in rare conditions. We report on the use of rituximab in a patient who subsequently developed catastrophic aortic incompetence, and we review the literature in relation to the use of this drug in RP.