Study finds one treatment stands above others for adults with Langerhans cell histiocytosis

August 15, 2012

A study by a Baylor College of Medicine physician-researcher has shed light on the most effective treatment for adults with Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) in bones. LCH is a disease that can affect the skin, mouth, ears, bones, brain, gastrointestinal system, liver, spleen, or bone marrow.

In the study, appearing in the current issue of , researchers reviewed for 58 adults with the disease and compared the effectiveness of three chemotherapy treatments – vinblastine/prednisone, 2-Chlorodeoxyadenosine, and cytosine arabinoside.

"Cytarabine (cytosine arabinoside) is clearly the winner here – it's the most effective and least toxic," said Dr. Ken McClain, professor of pediatrics – hematology/oncology at BCM and director of the Histiocytosis Program at Texas Children's Cancer Center.

The study is important because LCH is rare in adults and there is very little research on the disease. There have been no studies in the literature up to now that compare different treatments, according to McClain.

"The No. 1 thing that I hope comes out of this study is that physicians stop using vinblastine/prednisone, which is the least effective and most toxic chemotherapy treatment for this disease," he said.

LCH occurs when white blood cells called histiocytes and lymphocytes gather together and attack the skin, bones, brain, , major organs, mouth and ears. It affects children and adults and can range from a single skin lesion to multi-organ involvement. It can be chronic and debilitating and, in some cases, fatal.

The study reviewed patients who were seen from 2001 to 2011 at BCM. It offers data that could be useful for future clinical trials but, more importantly, it provides literature for physicians who do not know how to treat patients with this rare disease.

Related Stories

Novel treatment for skin lymphoma

January 17, 2012

Promising findings on a novel combination treatment approach for a chronic type of skin lymphoma are being published today (embargoed for 4 pm) in JAMA's Archives of Dermatology by clinical researchers from Seidman Cancer ...

Recommended for you

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

July 28, 2015

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. ...

Can social isolation fuel epidemics?

July 21, 2015

Conventional wisdom has it that the more people stay within their own social groups and avoid others, the less likely it is small disease outbreaks turn into full-blown epidemics. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, according ...

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk

July 20, 2015

Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread ...

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

July 20, 2015

The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to include individuals from diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world. This study, conducted ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.