Animal model: feline acute lymphoblastic leukemia and aplastic anemia

Cotter, S.M.; Essex, M.

American Journal of Pathology 87(1): 265-268


ISSN/ISBN: 0002-9440
PMID: 265690
Accession: 068525278

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Similarities between human and feline ALL are encountered in clinical findings, laboratory data and response to treatment. History and clinical signs in human and feline patients are usually vague, limited to pallor, lethargy, weakness, anorexia and weight loss. Often there is history of fever and prior antibiotic treatment for bacterial infections before the diagnosis of leukemia is made. Anemia is the most striking finding on examination and may be associated with splenomegaly, lymphadenopathy, or hepatomegaly. Total white blood counts most often are normal or below, but extreme leukocytosis may occur. Lymphoblasts are usually present in the blood when the marrow is infiltrated with leukemic cells. At the time of diagnosis, the marrow is usually hypercellular, with the majority of cells being prolymphocytes and blasts. Thrombocytopenia and bleeding tendencies are often present in human ALL but occur less frequently in feline ALL. Aplastic anemia in man and the cat may occur with pancytopenia or as pure red blood cell aplasia. The anemia is normochromic and normocytic, with low reticulocyte counts and normal or elevated serum Fe levels. White blood counts and platelet counts are variable. The marrow may be hypercellular with abnormal maturation or release of cells, or there may be an absolute decrease in erythroid precursors. Course of the disease and prognosis are similar in human and feline patients. A small number of cats recover, but many remain anemic even with long-term supportive care and some eventually develop leukemia.