Relapsing acute myeloid leukemia manifesting as hypopyon uveitis

Am J Ophthalmol. 1995 Mar;119(3):361-4. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)71181-x.


Purpose: Although acute lymphoblastic leukemia may masquerade as hypopyon uveitis, acute myeloid leukemia has only rarely been reported to cause this complication, and ocular relapse generally has been associated with evidence of malignant cells at other sites. We studied a patient with acute myeloid leukemia whose only sign of relapse was bilateral anterior uveitis with pseudohypopyon that was refractory to topical and systemic corticosteroids.

Methods: A 26-year-old woman with acute myeloid leukemia in remission, who had bilateral anterior uveitis and increased intraocular pressure at initial examination, was studied clinically. Blood films, bone marrow smears, and preparations were examined by using immunoperoxidase staining.

Results: Although there was no evidence of leukemia in the blood or bone marrow samples, the cells obtained from the anterior chamber showed myeloblastic leukemic cells with morphologic characteristics similar to those present in the original bone marrow biopsy obtained 14 months previously. Irradiation and chemotherapy were used to kill the malignant cells in the eye and central nervous system. The persisting glaucoma resolved after anterior chamber washout of necrotic tumor cells.

Conclusions: Unusual features of uveitis in this patient indicated that she had a masquerade syndrome, despite normal results of bone marrow and blood film tests. Aspiration of intraocular cellular infiltrate for cytopathologic examination was required to obtain the correct diagnosis and enable treatment to commence without delay.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anterior Chamber / pathology*
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / diagnosis*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / therapy
  • Leukemic Infiltration / pathology
  • Ocular Hypertension / etiology
  • Radiotherapy
  • Recurrence
  • Suppuration / diagnosis
  • Uveitis, Anterior / diagnosis*


  • Antigens, CD