We present a patient with Burkitt’s lymphoma who suffered a severe haemolytic crisis after treatment with rasburicase. This case report underlines the high incidence of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency in some ethnic groups and the importance of a detailed patient and family history before starting treatment, even in case of emergency. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase is an essential enzyme since it makes the synthesis of NADPH + H from NADP possible, which determines the reducing power (NADPH) of the cell. Every defect in this physiological process, notably glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, may thus result simultaneously with the use of rasburicase in acute or chronic haemolysis according to the importance of the deficiency. Management is based on stopping the incriminated drug and on supportive therapy consisting of administering packed red blood cells if the anaemia is poorly tolerated.

(BELG J HEMATOL 2015;6(2): 74–8)