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What Is a Leukemoid Reaction and what are its causes ?

White blood cells are an important component of the immune system. When the immune system is activated, the number of white blood cells in the body increases; in some cases this increase is much greater than normal. This additional increase in white blood cells is referred to as a leukemoid reaction.
Another name for a leukemoid reaction is transient myeloproliferative disorder. In most cases, a person who is experiencing a leukemoid reaction has an underlying medical disorder which is causing the elevated white blood cell count. While the reaction itself is not dangerous, the medical disorder which has caused the reaction is often potentially harmful.

A moderate, advanced, or sometimes extreme degree of leukocytosis in the circulating blood, similar to that occurring in various forms of leukemia, but not the result of leukemic disease; usually, there is a disproportionate increase in the number of forms (including immature stages) in one series of leukocytes, and various examples of myelocytic, lymphocytic, monocytic, or plasmocytic leukemoid reaction may be also indistinguishable from leukocytosis that is associated with certain forms of leukemia.

Causes of Leukemoid Reaction

A leukemoid reaction is typically a response to an underlying medical issue. Causes of leukemoid reactions include:
– Use of Sulfa drugs Dapsone.
– Use of glucocorticoids.
– Use of G-CSF or related growth factors.
– All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA).
Infections (e.g. tuberculosis, pertussis, infectious mononucleosis).
As a feature of Trisomy 21 in infancy (incidence of ~10%).
As a paraneoplastic phenomenon (rare).

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