NYMC Faculty Publications

Acute Myeloid Leukemia in a Patient With Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Related High-Risk Myelodysplastic Syndrome

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Faculty, Resident/Fellow

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The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that infects a subset of T lymphocytes referred to as CD4 T-helper cells. This insult to the quantity and quality of T lymphocytes leads to a significant compromise of the immune system and the development of an environment of abnormal immune activation. This aberrancy in the immune system increases the susceptibility to developing various malignancies. Hematological abnormalities like cytopenias are among the most common complications of HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related lymphoid malignancies. Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a disease of ineffective hematopoiesis causing dysplastic cells and hypercellular bone marrow, manifesting as pancytopenia, has been described in patients with HIV but is poorly documented in the medical literature. We present the case of a middle-aged male with longstanding HIV who developed severe pancytopenia secondary to high-risk MDS and eventually progressed to and died from acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a phenomenon infrequently reported as associated with HIV/AIDS. Patients with HIV/AIDS and cytopenias should get a detailed hematological evaluation so as not to miss or delay the AML diagnosis.