Hereditary angioedema with an acute attack resolved after bone marrow transplantation for acute myeloid leukemia: a case report

Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2023 May 16;19(1):42. doi: 10.1186/s13223-023-00803-5.


Background: Hereditary angioedema (HAE), which is caused by C1-inhibitor (C1-INH) deficiency or dysfunction, is a rare and potentially life-threatening disease. In patients with HAE, excess production of bradykinin causes acute unpredictable recurrent attacks of angioedema in localized regions, including the larynx and intestines. Given the fact that HAE is an autosomal dominant disease, C1-INH produced in patients with HAE is 50% of that produced in healthy individuals. However, most patients with HAE present plasma C1-INH function of < 25% owing to the chronic consumption of C1-INH by kallikrein-kinin, contact, complement, coagulation, and fibrinolysis cascades. Recently, several therapeutic options have been developed for acute attacks and prophylaxis in the treatment of HAE; however, currently, there is no curative therapy for HAE.

Case presentation: Here we report the case of a 48-year-old male patient who presented with a long-standing history of HAE and underwent bone marrow transplantation (BMT) for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) at the age of 39 years and has been in complete remission of AML and HAE thereafter. Notably, after BMT, his C1-INH function gradually increased as follows: < 25%, 29%, 37%, and 45.6%. Since his 20 s, he intermittently presented with an acute attack of HAE once every 3 months from the initial attack. Further, after undergoing BMT, the number of acute attacks decreased to twice within 4 years until the age of 45 years, and subsequently, the patient has been free of acute attacks. C1-INH is mainly synthesized by hepatocytes, but it is known to be partially produced and secreted from peripheral blood monocytes, macrophages, endothelial cells, and fibroblasts. We speculate that the C1-INH function may be increased by extrahepatic production of C1-INH, possibly synthesized by differentiated cells derived from hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells after BMT.

Conclusions: This case report supports efforts to focus on extrahepatic production of C1-INH in the next strategy of new treatment development for HAE.

Keywords: Acute attack; Bone marrow transplantation; C1-inhibitor; Hereditary angioedema; Japan; Leukemia.