Langerhans' Cell Histiocytosis Overview
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In Langerhans cell histiocytosis, certain white blood cells, called Langerhans cells, grow out of control. In a healthy person, these cells help defend against infection. But in histiocytosis, the cells multiply so quickly that they build up and can damage the body instead of protect it. Except for their rapid growth, the cells are normal. This disease is not cancer. But it is similar. Doctors who treat cancer and blood diseases also treat histiocytosis.

Children and teens with Langerhans cell histiocytosis are treated at Seattle Children’s, a founding organization of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Seattle Children’s has a long history of successfully caring for children and teens with this and other blood disorders. Pediatric oncologists coordinate the care because it is so specialized and may vary greatly from patient to patient. Langerhans cell histiocytosis has had other names, and there are subtypes of the disease. So you may hear or see one of these names:

  • Diffuse reticuloendotheliosis
  • Eosinophilic granuloma
  • Hand-Schüller-Christian disease
  • Hashimoto-Pritzker syndrome
  • Histiocytosis X
  • Langerhans cell granulomatosis
  • Letterer-Siwe disease
  • Non-lipid reticuloendotheliosis
  • Type II histiocytosis

Expert Care for Your Child

Langerhans cell histiocytosis is a rare disease, and not many doctors have experience treating it. This is why in the United States most children with the disorder receive treatment at centers, like Seattle Children’s, that have special experience with children’s cancers and blood disorders. At Seattle Children’s, our doctors and other members of your child’s team have worked with many children with histiocytosis.

Seattle Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center  brings together experts from more than 20 subspecialties to provide diagnostic services and treatments, including the very latest options. The team of pediatric oncologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, Child Life specialists, social workers, and chaplains partner with you to provide expert, family-centered care and compassionate support. We help you understand your child’s health and treatment options because you, your child, and your family are an important part of the care team.

Because Seattle Children’s doctors take part in national and international research studies, and often lead them, we can offer new treatment options that many other hospitals cannot give their patients.

Learn More

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Make an Appointment

To make an appointment, call Seattle Children’s at (206) 987-2106.