Peddi K, Wiggins B, Choudhury O, Reulbach C, and Adams P. Intracranial Hemorrhage Secondary to Newly Diagnosed Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia: A Cautionary Tale. Cureus 2022; 14(3):e23252.
Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) typically presents with complications from pancytopenia, generalized weakness, and hemorrhagic findings, with a distinguishing feature being the associated predilection of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). APL is characterized by the halting of cellular differentiation in the promyelocyte stage, and balanced chromosomal translocation t(15;17) (q24;q21) that forms the promyelocytic leukemia-retinoic acid receptor-α (PML-RARA) fusion protein present in 95% of cases. APL has a high rate of early mortality secondary to coagulopathy, lending to the imperative need to begin a differentiation agent as soon as the disease is suspected, with all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) being the most common differentiation agent. Herein, we present the case of a 32-year-old man presenting with non-specific symptoms of fatigue and scattered bruising, who was found to have an intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) in the setting of suspected APL. This case illuminates the importance of early brain imaging in suspected cases of APL to conceivably lessen the severity of hemorrhagic complications and represents a cautionary tale for similar cases in the future.