Direct Coombs Test Positivity in B-Chronic Lymphoid Leukemia: a Marker of Advanced Clinical Disease

  • Abbas, Syeda Alia (Hematology Department, Liaquat National Hospital and Medical College) ;
  • Zeeshan, Rozina (Hematology Department, Liaquat National Hospital and Medical College) ;
  • Sultan, Sadia (Hematology Department, Liaquat National Hospital and Medical College) ;
  • Irfan, Syed Mohammad (Hematology Department, Liaquat National Hospital and Medical College)
  • Published : 2015.09.02


Background: Chronic lymphoid leukemia (CLL) is a malignant hematopoietic disorder, the most common of all adult leukemias with a distinctive immunophenotype. It is well established that CLL patients can have autoimmune complications, amongst them autoimmune hemolytic anemia as the most frequent. This study was carried out to determine the frequency of direct Coombs Test positivity in CLL patients and its possible correlation with Rai staging, hematological parameters and biochemical markers. Materials and Methods: This descriptive cross sectional study was carried at Liaquat National Hospital from January 2011 to June 2013. Sixty untreated patients with B- chronic lymphoid leukemia were enrolled. Complete blood count, direct Coombs test, serum urea, creatinine, uric acid and LDH levels were determined. Data were compiled and analyzed using SPSS version 21. Results: Out of 60 patients, 42(70%) were males and 18(30%) were females. Mean age was $59{\pm}9.2years$. Male to female ratio was 2.1: 1. The frequency of direct antiglobulin test (DAT) positivity was found to be 23.3%. The monospecific IgG was positive in 11 patients (18.3%); C3d positivity was evident in 1 patient (1.6%) and 2 patients (3.3%) had dual IgG and C3d positivity. The mean hemoglobin was $10.8{\pm}2.4gm/dl$. Significantly low mean hemoglobin of $8.3{\pm}3.0gm/dl$ was seen in Coombs positive patients compared with negative patients having a mean hemoglobin level of $11.7{\pm}1.6gm/dl$ (P<0.001). DAT positivity also demonstrated a positive association with advanced Rai stage III disease (P<0.01). No associations were noted with age, gender and biochemical markers. Conclusions: Direct Coombs test positivity in CLL in our patients, unlike in Western studies, appears relatively high, indicating significant autoimmune hemolytic anemia and advanced Rai stage in our setting. DAT positivity can be considered as a surrogative marker for advanced clinical disease.


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