Chemotherapy used to treat many types of cancer can damage the bone marrow and result in a low platelet count. However, there are some cancers that have a more direct association with thrombocytopenia due to bone marrow involvement, compromised immune system or an enlarged spleen. Someone with cancer usually has other symptoms in addition to low platelets.
Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS)
Blood cells are produced in the bone marrow. In those with myelodysplatic syndrome (MDS) the bone marrow is damaged and blood cell production is impaired, including platelet production. The disease can also transform into acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Resources and research providing insight into MDS and low platelets include:
- Significance of thrombocytopenia in myelodysplastic syndromes: associations and prognostic implications
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a cancer of B-lymphocytes, which normally make antibodies needed to fight infection. Advanced CLL causes many signs and symptoms resulting from leukemia cells replacing the bone marrow’s normal blood-making cells, including thrombocytopenia or low blood platelets.
Resources and research providing insight into CLL and low platelets include:
Large Granular Lymphocytic Leukemia (LGL)
This disease is a rare form of chronic leukemia characterized by abnormal CD8+ T cells, a type of white blood cells called “lymphocytes.”
Resources and research providing insight into LGL and low platelets include:
- Acquired amegakaryocytic thrombocytopenia and pure red cell aplasia associated with an occult large granular lymphocyte leukemia
- T-gamma large granular lymphocyte leukemia associated with amegakaryocytic thrombocytopenic purpura, Sjögren's syndrome, and polyglandular autoimmune syndrome type II, with subsequent development of pure red cell aplasia