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Our Approach to Adult Histiocyte Disorders Treatment

  • Treatment for all types of histiocyte disorders

    At Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center's Adult Histiocyte Disorders Center, our experts use novel approaches to the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and management of all adult histiocyte disorders, including:

    • Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH): the most common histiocyte disorder; results from the body's overproduction of immature histiocytes, which are a type of white blood cell
    • Erdheim-Chester disease (ECD): An extremely rare form of non-Langerhans cell histiocytosis, with only a few hundred cases reported in the literature
    • Histiocytic sarcoma (HS): Also an extremely rare form of non-Langerhans cell histiocytosis – a disease of blood-derived cells
    • Rosai-Dorfman disease (RDD): An exceedingly rare disease, more commonly found in children, but also occurring in adults
    • Juvenile xanthogranuloma (JXG): Also exceedingly rare; can mimic ECD, but is often treated differently

    Learn more about histiocyte disorders.

    Evaluation and diagnosis

    Techniques for diagnosing histiocyte disorders include:

    • Biopsy, performed by our interventional radiologists and surgical oncologists
    • Genetic analysis
    • Radiology
    • Laboratory testing

    Often, patients have had biopsies elsewhere before coming to our Center. But whether performed here or elsewhere, our pathologists – recognized experts in histiocyte disorders – review all initial biopsies. This means that, in essence, all our patients at our Center receive a second pathology opinion.

    Sub-specialists can also play a role in diagnosing histiocyte disease – for example:

    • Dermatologists can perform skin biopsies, either to establish the diagnosis or see if the disease is affecting the skin
    • Radiologists can review the imaging and describe the patterns of radiographic involvement
    • Endocrinologists can help establish the diagnosis
    • Genetic testing can search for inherited tendencies or potential targets for treatment

    Personalized treatment plans

    The appropriate treatment for histiocyte disorders is dictated by:

    • The nature and extent of the disease
    • The results of genetic profiling of the disease (occasionally)
    • Other medical illnesses, which can make certain treatments more feasible and appropriate than others

    Treatments can include:

    • Drugs and chemotherapy
    • Surgery
    • Radiation therapy
    • Oral medications
    • Clinical trials
    • Stem cell transplant