Infections remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. These patients are predisposed to infection due to the immune compromise inherent to the primary disease and to therapy-related immunosuppression. The introduction of purine analogs and agents such as Campath-1H into the therapeutic armamentarium for chronic lymphocytic leukemia has altered the spectrum of infections. Although bacterial infections are most common, opportunistic infections, such as those caused by Candida, Pneumocystis and herpesviruses, may occur, related to T-cell immunosuppression induced by these agents. We will review the pathogenesis of infection, spectrum of infections, risk factors for infection and approaches for infection prophylaxis and therapy.
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia