Chronic lymphocytic leukemia and chronic myeloid leukemia are the most common types of adult leukemia. However, it is rare for the same patient to suffer from both. Richter's transformation to diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is frequently observed in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Purine analog therapy and the presence of trisomy 12, and CCND1 gene rearrangement have been linked to increased risk of Richter's transformation. The coexistence of chronic myeloid leukemia and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in the same patient is extremely rare, with only nine reported cases. Here, we describe the first reported case of concurrent chronic myeloid leukemia and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in a background of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
A 60-year-old Saudi man known to have diabetes, hypertension, and chronic active hepatitis B was diagnosed as having Rai stage II chronic lymphocytic leukemia, with trisomy 12 and rearrangement of the CCND1 gene in December 2012. He required no therapy until January 2016 when he developed significant anemia, thrombocytopenia, and constitutional symptoms. He received six cycles of fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab, after which he achieved complete remission. One month later, he presented with progressive leukocytosis (mostly neutrophilia) and splenomegaly. Fluorescence in situ hybridization from bone marrow aspirate was positive for translocation (9;22) and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction detected BCR-ABL fusion gene consistent with chronic myeloid leukemia. He had no morphologic or immunophenotypic evidence of chronic lymphocytic leukemia at the time. Imatinib, a first-line tyrosine kinase inhibitor, was started. Eight months later, a screening imaging revealed new liver lesions, which were confirmed to be diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
In chronic lymphocytic leukemia, progressive leukocytosis and splenomegaly caused by emerging chronic myeloid leukemia can be easily overlooked. It is unlikely that chronic myeloid leukemia arose as a result of clonal evolution secondary to fludarabine treatment given the very short interval after receiving fludarabine. It is also unlikely that imatinib contributed to the development of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; rather, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma arose as a result of Richter's transformation. Fludarabine, trisomy 12, and CCND1 gene rearrangement might have increased the risk of Richter's transformation in this patient.