X-linked Lymphoproliferative Syndrome

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See also: Glandular Fever (Infectious Mononucleosis) written for patients
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Synonyms: XLP, Duncan's disease, familial fatal Epstein-Barr virus infection, Purtilo's syndrome

This X-linked inherited disorder (thus affecting boys) resulting from a defective gene at Xq25 is characterised by a severe susceptibility to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infections.[1]

Following exposure, 75% of patients develop a severe or fatal infectious mononucleosis. Survivors may go on to develop an acquired hypogammaglobulinaema, red cell aplasia, aplastic anaemia or lymphomatoid granulomatosis.[2, 3]

Patients present in childhood (mean age 3-5 years) with signs of EBV infection:

Bone marrow transplant is the definitive treatment.[4, 5] Transplantation of cord-blood stem cells from an HLA-identical sibling has also been successful.[6]

There is research into the use of anti-CD20 rituximab (monoclonal antibody) in the acute phase of EBV infection which shows promise, and cytotoxic chemotherapy may also have a role.[2]

Genetic testing can identify affected individuals and carriers, and antenatal diagnosis is possible.

EBV infection can result in hepatic necrosis or bone marrow failure.

Later complications include hypogammaglobulinaemia, malignant lymphoma, aplastic anaemia or haemophagocytic syndrome.

Without transplant, 70% of patients will not survive beyond 10 years of age.[1]

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Further reading & references

  1. X-linked Lymphoproliferative Disorder, Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM)
  2. Seiter K et al; Lymphoproliferative Syndrome, X-linked, Medscape, Mar 2011
  3. Purtilo DT, Sakamoto K, Barnabei V, et al; Epstein-Barr virus-induced diseases in boys with the X-linked lymphoproliferative syndrome (XLP): update on studies of the registry. Am J Med. 1982 Jul 73(1):49-56.
  4. Pracher E, Panzer-Grumayer ER, Zoubek A, et al; Successful bone marrow transplantation in a boy with X-linked lymphoproliferative syndrome and acute severe infectious mononucleosis. Bone Marrow Transplant. 1994 May 13(5):655-8.
  5. Hoffmann T, Heilmann C, Madsen HO, et al; Matched unrelated allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for recurrent malignant lymphoma in a patient with X-linked lymphoproliferative disease (XLP). Bone Marrow Transplant. 1998 Sep 22(6):603-4.
  6. Vowels MR, Tang RL, Berdoukas V, et al; Brief report: correction of X-linked lymphoproliferative disease by transplantation of cord-blood stem cells. N Engl J Med. 1993 Nov 25 329(22):1623-5.
Original Author:
Dr Huw Thomas
Current Version:
Dr Hayley Willacy
Document ID:
4175 (v3)
Last Checked:
22 June 2011
Next Review:
20 June 2016

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