Why does my patient have leukocytosis?

Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2012 Apr;26(2):303-19, viii. doi: 10.1016/j.hoc.2012.01.001. Epub 2012 Feb 17.


Leukocytosis is one of the most common laboratory abnormalities in medicine, and one of the most frequent reasons for hematologic consultation. Effective evaluation of leukocytosis requires an attentive history, careful physical examination, meticulous review of the complete blood count and peripheral blood smear, judicious application of laboratory and radiologic testing, and thoughtful analysis. Definitive diagnosis may require bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, imaging studies, and specialized molecular tests. The differential diagnosis of leukocytosis includes physiologic responses to a broad range of infectious and inflammatory processes, as well as numerous primary hematologic disorders such as leukemias, lymphomas, and myeloproliferative neoplasms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / cytology
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Leukocytosis / classification
  • Leukocytosis / diagnosis
  • Leukocytosis / etiology*