Our Approach to Adult Histiocyte Disorders Treatment

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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:

Treatments can include:

  • 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

Compassionate Care and Support

We understand that cancer affects patients and their families in many ways. So, in addition to providing highly personalized care and attention from our doctors, nurses, technicians, and staff, our Center offers a wide range of services, before, during, and after treatment, including: