How I treat warts, hypogammaglobulinemia, infections, and myelokathexis syndrome

Blood. 2017 Dec 7;130(23):2491-2498. doi: 10.1182/blood-2017-02-708552. Epub 2017 Oct 24.


Warts, hypogammaglobulinemia, infections, and myelokathexis (WHIM) syndrome is a genetic disease characterized by neutropenia, lymphopenia, susceptibility to infections, and myelokathexis, which describes degenerative changes of mature neutrophils and hyperplasia of bone marrow myeloid cells. Some patients present with hypogammaglobulinemia and/or refractory warts of skin and genitalia. Congenital cardiac defects constitute uncommon manifestations of the disease. The disorder, which is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait, is caused by heterozygous mutations of the chemokine receptor CXCR4. These mutations lead to an increased sensitivity of neutrophils and lymphocytes to the unique ligand CXCL12 and to an increased accumulation of mature neutrophils in the bone marrow. Despite greatly improved knowledge of the disease, therapeutic choices are insufficient to prevent some of the disease outcomes, such as development of bronchiectasis, anogenital dysplasia, or invasive cancer. The available therapeutic measures aimed at preventing the risk for infection in WHIM patients are discussed. We critically evaluate the diagnostic criteria of WHIM syndrome, particularly when WHIM syndrome should be suspected in patients with congenital neutropenia and lymphopenia despite the absence of hypogammaglobulinemia and/or warts. Finally, we discuss recent results of trials evaluating plerixafor, a selective antagonist of CXCR4, as a mechanism-oriented strategy for treatment of WHIM patients.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agammaglobulinemia / diagnosis
  • Agammaglobulinemia / etiology
  • Agammaglobulinemia / therapy
  • Biomarkers
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / etiology
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / therapy*
  • Infections / diagnosis
  • Infections / etiology
  • Infections / therapy
  • Neutropenia / diagnosis
  • Neutropenia / etiology
  • Neutropenia / therapy
  • Phenotype
  • Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Warts / diagnosis
  • Warts / etiology
  • Warts / therapy*


  • Biomarkers

Supplementary concepts

  • WHIM syndrome