The term “koilocytosis” refers to a group of conditions where the body produces abnormally high numbers of white blood cells (leukocytes) called erythrocytes. Erythrocyte count is an indicator of how well your immune system is working.

These abnormal levels are usually found in patients with cancer or AIDS, but they may also occur in healthy individuals at other times.

In most cases, these erythrocyte counts do not cause any symptoms. However, some individuals develop anemia due to the increased number of red blood cells.

Other signs and symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches and pains, fatigue, weight loss or gain (especially in children), nausea and vomiting. If left untreated the condition can lead to life-threatening complications such as anemia-related aneurysms or stroke.

A person with koilocytosis may have one or more of the following symptoms:

Fever (often severe)

Chills, shivers, or shaking (sometimes severe)

Muscle aches and pains (often severe)

Nausea and vomiting (usually severe)

If left untreated, koilocytosis can result in life-threatening complications such as anemia-related aneurysms or stroke.

Koilocytosis (leukocytosis), also called “leukocytosis,” is when a patient has an abnormally large number of white blood cells (leukocytes) in their blood. Koilocytes are a certain kind of white blood cell that fights infection and disease.

When there are too many koilocytes, they can interfere with the body’s ability to fight infection and disease normally.

Koilocytes are most often caused by infections like the common cold or the flu. They can also be caused by conditions such as cancer, lupus, and multiple myeloma, or by taking some kinds of medicines or illegal drugs.


The first step in diagnosing koilocytosis is taking a sample of your blood and having it tested. A pathologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing diseases based on examination of body tissue, will look at your blood sample under a microscope to see whether you have too many white blood cells.

Laboratory measurements of the number of white blood cells in a person’s blood are sometimes used as a tool to help diagnose koilocytosis and other medical conditions. The types of white blood cells present are typically counted as well as their different subtypes.

If the pathologist finds that you have too many white blood cells, he or she will try to determine the cause of this condition. The diagnosis may be obvious if you have an obvious source of infection.

For example, if you have an ear infection and your pathologist sees that you have more white blood cells in your ear canal, the increased number of koilocytes is suggested as the cause of the problem.

The pathologist may also count the number of platelets present. Normally, platelets should outnumber the white blood cells by at least a 5:1 ratio.

In some people, however, this normal ratio is even higher. An accurate platelet count may help determine if your increased amount of white blood cells is due to an actual increase in the number of leukocytes or if the ratio between the two cell types is just greater than normal.

If your platelet count is normal or low, this suggests that the increased number of white blood cells is due to an actual increase in the number of leukocytes. In this case, further tests should be performed to determine the cause of the leukocytosis and whether it is due to a benign or malignant tumor.

If your platelet count is high, this suggests that the increased number of white blood cells is due to a greater than normal ratio between the platelets and white blood cells. This type of leukocytosis is not typically due to an actual increase in the number of white blood cells.

Instead, it is usually caused by an increased activation of platelets or it may be a sign of some other medical condition.


Treatments for koilocytosis will depend on the underlying cause of this condition. For example, if you have an ear infection and start experiencing koilocytosis, your doctor may give you ear drops or prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection.

If your increased number of white blood cells is due to a benign tumor, having it surgically removed should eliminate the condition. If it is due to a cancer, the type and treatment of that cancer will depend on where the cancer originated.

Treatment options may include pharmaceuticals, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Condylomata of the uterine cervix and koilocytosis of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. by S Pilotti, F Rilke, G De Palo, G Della Torre… – Journal of Clinical …, 1981 – jcp.bmj.com

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Koilocytosis; an indication for conservative management by N Dudding, J Sutton, S Lane – Cytopathology, 1996 – Wiley Online Library