Spontaneous Remission of Acute Myeloid Leukemia After Infection and Blood Transfusion Associated With Hypergammaglobulinaemia

Ann Hematol. 1996 Oct;73(4):189-93. doi: 10.1007/s002770050226.


Spontaneous remissions of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have been documented in association with infection as well as blood transfusions. Activation of the immune system including an increased number of NK cells and cytokine release have been implicated in the mechanism of this phenomenon. We have observed spontaneous remissions in two patients with AML (one with a t(8;21)-positive M2, one with M5b), both occurring after infection and blood transfusions. The bone marrow showed a reduction of blast cells from 65% to 2% or 40% to 1%, respectively. Remission was accompanied by a marked polyclonal hypergammaglobulinemia in both cases (IgG values of 6420 and 2160 mg/dl, IgA of 802 and 811 mg/dl, respectively). A concomitant increase in bone marrow plasma cells was observed in both patients. Reduction of AML1/ETO PCR positivity from one-step to two-step PCR (approximately 100-fold) was documented in the patient with a t(8;21), while a regression of lymph node and skin leukemic infiltrations occurred in the patient with M5b. One patient relapsed after 4 months, at a time when his serum immunoglobulin levels had markedly decreased. The other patient is in continuous remission after 14 months. These cases suggest a potential role for a humoral immune response in the mechanism of spontaneous remission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Bacterial Infections / complications*
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 2 Subunit
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Hypergammaglobulinemia / complications*
  • Hypergammaglobulinemia / therapy
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins*
  • Remission, Spontaneous
  • Transcription Factors / genetics


  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 2 Subunit
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • RUNX1 protein, human
  • Transcription Factors