Can leukopenia go to blood cancer?


Concepts such as leukopenia, leukemia or leukemia in a person who is not related to medicine cause fear and a lot of questions. The main one is, are these conditions life-threatening?

What is leukopenia?

Reducing the quantitative composition of leukocytes (white blood cells) is called leukopenia. It can be of two types: functional and organic.

The functional develops with:

  1. typhoid fever;
  2. viral diseases;
  3. systematic starvation;
  4. reception of amidopyrine, sulfonamides;
  5. influence of ionizing penetrating radiation (radiation).

Organic leukopenia is the result of acute leukemia or aplastic anemia. Leukemia is an oncological disease, the development of which begins in the bone marrow. Cancer cells replace the structure of the bone marrow, as a result - healthy blood cells are not produced, so the white blood cell count drops. Aplastic anemia is a rare disease of the hematopoietic system, in which the function of the hematopoiesis of the bone marrow is inhibited.

Leukopenia is mistakenly identified with agranulocytosis, arguing that it is one and the same. To think so is delusion. By itself, leukopenia is not an independent disease. And in some cases, a moderate decrease in leukocytes is a physiological norm for a single person.

Agranulocytosis is an obligatory pathological consequence of chemotherapy, and severe leukopenia is its main symptom. Why is this happening?


The impact of chemotherapy is aimed at the destruction of rapidly dividing cells. These are cancer cells, as well as healthy cells of the body: cells of hair, nails, mucous, neutrophils (a kind of leukocytes, the content of which in the blood up to 70%, the duration of their life 1 ─ 3 day). Getting into the body, chemicals are not able to distinguish healthy cells from cancerous and therefore destroy them all. And if in the case of hair baldness is not a life-threatening symptom, the destruction of leukocytes of this magnitude causes severe leukopenia, destroying the immune system. As a result, absolute absence of body resistance.

What is the difference between leukopenia and blood cancer?

Blood cancer is a malignant disease of the blood system. A leukopenia is a reactive state of the body in response to the influence of external or internal factors.

If leukopenia occurs only changes in the number of certain structures of leukocytes (lymphocytes, neutrophils, monocytes, platelets), then in the case of leukemia, the very quality and functionality of the blood cells is broken, right up to their destruction.

Normally, the bone marrow produces stem cells, which are subsequently separated (differentiated), and enter the blood already functionally developed (leukocytes, erythrocytes). With leukemia, the following changes occur:

  1. Stem cells, precursors of leukocytes, do not follow the path of normal development, they degenerate and become malignant.
  2. Newly formed atypical cells suppress the normal development of stem cells around them.
  3. Gradually, the bone marrow completely replaces the physiological blood cells with cancer, and the bone marrow loses the ability to produce leukocytes and other blood cells.
  4. Young, aggressive cancer cells penetrate the bloodstream and spread throughout the body.


Leukemia is the only form of cancer, unlike the oncological pathology of other organs and systems, which can not be prevented. Therefore, it can not be predicted or prevented. The cancer of blood can develop in a person suddenly, without any prerequisites.

The relationship between leukopenia and leukemia

Permanent leukopenia, especially against the background of frequent viral infections makes you think. The low content of leukocytes can be a consequence of the disease, including leukemia. But in some cases, on the contrary, leukopenia promotes the development of diseases. The shift of white blood cell counts to a smaller side increases the risk of oncological pathology twice. The danger is that if you do not pay attention to it in time, you can skip the onset of the development of blood cancer (leukemia or acute leukemia).


When evaluating a clinical blood test, leukopenia is analyzed in two ways: as a consequence already existing pathological process in the body, and as a harbinger of a possible future disease.

With leukopenia, the number of white cells decreases, their protective activity slows down significantly. This leads to an overload of the immune system. As a result, atypical (cancer) cells are activated.

There is an opinion that physiological (acquired or congenital) leukopenia, can serve as an impetus to the development of leukemia. However, such a version is considered at the hypothesis level.

Leukopenia itself is not a terrible diagnosis, but only serves as a signal to pay attention to your health.


It is important to know:

. Myelodysplastic syndrome turns into cancer?.
. Symptoms of blood cancer in women.