Purpose of review: A decade after the availability of hematopoietic growth factors, the long-term outcome of severe congenital neutropenia has dramatically changed. The prolonged survival of neutropenic patients receiving hematopoietic growth factors has drawn attention to the heterogeneity of this disease and to the complications of treatment. The dose of granulocyte colony stimulating factor that is required to obtain normal levels of circulating neutrophils and to prevent fever and infections is quite variable among patients, but is higher in children with severe congenital neutropenia than in those with other conditions of neutropenia. Moreover, leukemic transformation during treatment is not observed in all patients, but is more typical of severe congenital neutropenia and Shwachman-Diamond patients.
Recent findings: In recent years, the converging efforts of hematologists, immunologists and geneticists have led to the discovery of the genetic and biochemical basis of severe congenital neutropenia; cyclic neutropenia; warts, hypogammaglobulinemia, immunodeficiency, myelokathexis or WHIM syndrome and other rarer conditions associated to neutropenia.
Summary: Although the diagnosis of congenital neutropenia includes many disorders of distinct origin and variable prognosis, their treatment is still based on granulocyte colony stimulating factor administration. Understanding the pathogenesis of these forms of neutropenia and their evolution will focus future studies on the mechanisms of normal and pathological myelopoiesis and on the development of the most appropriate treatment for each type of neutropenia.