Histiocytosis is a rare blood disease that is caused by an excess of white blood cells called histiocytes. The histiocytes cluster together and can attack the skin, bones, lung, liver, spleen, gums, ears, eyes and/or the central nervous system. The disease can range from limited involvement that spontaneously regresses to progressive multi-organ involvement that can be chronic and debilitating. In some cases, the disease can be life-threatening.
Histiocytosis is not a cancer. In some ways, histiocytosis is similar to cancer and is primarily treated by oncologists with chemotherapy and/or steroids. Unlike cancer, histiocytosis sometimes goes into remission without treatment.
Because of its rarity, histiocytic disorders require treatment in specialized centers by physicians who have expertise in this disease. Our division has a long standing interest in treating patients with histiocytic disorders.