Background: A T-cell clone, thought to be the source of eosinophilopoietic cytokines, identified by clonal rearrangement of the T-cell receptor and by the presence of aberrant T-cell immunophenotype in peripheral blood defines lymphocytic variant of hypereosinophilic syndrome (L-HES).
Design and methods: Peripheral blood samples from 42 patients who satisfied the diagnostic criteria for HES were studied for T-cell receptor clonal rearrangement by polymerase chain reaction according to BIOMED-2. The T-cell immunophenotype population was assessed in peripheral blood by flow cytometry. The FIP1L1-PDGFRA fusion gene was detected by nested polymerase chain reaction.
Results: Forty-two HES patients (18 males and 24 females) with a median age at diagnosis of 56 years (range 17-84) were examined in this study. Their median white blood cell count was 12.9 x 10(9)/L (range 5.3-121), with an absolute eosinophil count of 4.5 x 10(9)/L (range 1.5-99) and a median eosinophilic bone marrow infiltration of 30% (range 11-64). Among the 42 patients, clonal T-cell receptor rearrangements were detected in 18 patients (42.8%). Patients with T-cell receptor clonality included: T-cell receptor beta in 15 patients (35%), T-cell receptor gamma in 9 (21%) and T-cell receptor delta in 9 (21%) patients, respectively. Clonality was detected in all three T-cell receptor loci in 4 cases, in two loci in 7 patients and in one T-cell receptor locus in the remaining 7 patients. The FIP1L1-PDGFRA fusion transcript was absent in all but 2 patients with T-cell receptor clonality. Three patients out of 42 revealed an aberrant T-cell immunophenotype. In some patients, an abnormal CD4:CD8 ratio was demonstrated.
Conclusions: T-cell abnormalities are present at high frequencies in patients with HES.