Idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES) and chronic eosinophilic leukemia (CEL) comprise a spectrum of indolent to aggressive diseases characterized by unexplained, persistent hypereosinophilia. These disorders have eluded a unique molecular explanation, and therapy has primarily been oriented toward palliation of symptoms related to organ involvement. Recent reports indicate that HES and CEL are imatinib-responsive malignancies, with rapid and complete hematologic remissions observed at lower doses than used in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). These BCR-ABL-negative cases lack activating mutations or abnormal fusions involving other known target genes of imatinib, implicating a novel tyrosine kinase in their pathogenesis. A bedside-to-benchtop translational research effort led to the identification of a constitutively activated fusion tyrosine kinase on chromosome 4q12, derived from an interstitial deletion, that fuses the platelet-derived growth factor receptor-alpha gene (PDGFRA) to an uncharacterized human gene FIP1-like-1 (FIP1L1). However, not all HES and CEL patients respond to imatinib, suggesting disease heterogeneity. Furthermore, approximately 40% of responding patients lack the FIP1L1-PDGFRA fusion, suggesting genetic heterogeneity. This review examines the current state of knowledge of HES and CEL and the implications of the FIP1L1-PDGFRA discovery on their diagnosis, classification, and management.
View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2003-06-1824
View details for Web of Science ID 000222163500012
View details for PubMedID 15070659