A multicenter retrospective study defining the clinical and hematological manifestations of brucellosis and pancytopenia in a large series: Hematological malignancies, the unusual cause of pancytopenia in patients with brucellosis

Am J Hematol. 2008 Apr;83(4):334-9. doi: 10.1002/ajh.21098.


The aim of the study is to review the clinical manifestations and the hematological findings of brucellosis and pancytopenia, with or without hematological malignancies. The records of 202 patients with brucellosis were evaluated retrospectively. Among these cases of brucellosis seen in a 6 year period between April 1999 and June 2005, 30 patients with pancytopenia were identified. The most common manifestation was fever, followed by weight loss, anorexia, malaise, arthralgia, and hepatosplenomegaly. Bone marrow biopsies revealed hypercellularity or normocellularity. The most common findings in the bone marrow evaluation were histiocytic hemophagocytosis and granulomas. Among all cases, we diagnosed 5 hematological malignancies (1 acute myelogenous leukemia, 2 acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and 2 multiple myeloma) concurrently with brucellosis. The clinical symptoms and findings were similar in patients with and without malignancies. In cases with malignancies, the bone marrow biopsy revealed predominant primary disease involvement. Significant increases in ESR and CRP, severe anemia and thrombocytopenia were observed in patients with malignancies. Peripheral blood counts in patients without malignancies returned to normal after antibiotic treatment for brucellosis. However, pancytopenia in two patients with malignancies did not recover because of primary resistant disease. We conclude that while histiocytic hemophagocytosis may be considered as a major cause of pancytopenia, leukemic infiltration can also be an extreme and unusual cause of pancytopenia in patients in whom brucellosis was concurrently diagnosed with hematological malignancies.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agglutination Tests
  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Brucellosis / blood
  • Brucellosis / complications
  • Brucellosis / drug therapy
  • Brucellosis / epidemiology*
  • Brucellosis / pathology
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / blood
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / complications
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Acute / blood
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Acute / complications
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Acute / pathology
  • Leukemic Infiltration
  • Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic / complications
  • Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic / epidemiology
  • Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / blood
  • Multiple Myeloma / complications
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology
  • Pancytopenia / blood
  • Pancytopenia / epidemiology*
  • Pancytopenia / etiology
  • Pancytopenia / pathology
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / blood
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / complications
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome