Large granular lymphocyte leukemia: An indolent clonal proliferative disease associated with an array of various immunologic disorders

Rev Med Interne. 2023 Jun;44(6):295-306. doi: 10.1016/j.revmed.2023.03.014. Epub 2023 Apr 21.


Large granular lymphocyte leukemia (LGLL) is a chronic lymphoproliferative disorder characterized by the proliferation of T or NK cytotoxic cells in the peripheral blood, the spleen and the bone marrow. Neutropenia leading to recurrent infections represents the main manifestation of LGLL. One specificity of LGLL is its frequent association with auto-immune disorders, among them first and foremost rheumatoid arthritis, and other hematologic diseases, including pure red cell aplasia and bone marrow failure. The large spectrum of manifestations and the classical indolent course contribute to the diagnosis difficulties and the frequency of underdiagnosed cases. Of importance, the dysimmune manifestations disappear with the treatment of LGLL as the blood cell counts normalize, giving a strong argument for a pathological link between the two entities. The therapeutic challenge results from the high rate of relapses following the first line of immunosuppressive drugs. New targeted agents, some of which are currently approved in autoimmune diseases, appear to be relevant therapeutic strategies to treat LGLL, by targeting key activated pathways involved in the pathogenesis of the disease, including JAK-STAT signaling.

Keywords: LGL leukemia; Large granular lymphocytic leukemia; Leucémie à LGL; Leucémie à grands lymphocytes granuleux.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / complications
  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Large Granular Lymphocytic* / complications
  • Leukemia, Large Granular Lymphocytic* / diagnosis
  • Leukemia, Large Granular Lymphocytic* / pathology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Antineoplastic Agents