Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Hairy cell leukemia: an update

Goodman, Grant R. MD*; Bethel, Kelly J. MD; Saven, Alan MD*

Current Opinion in Hematology: July 2003 - Volume 10 - Issue 4 - p 258-266
Lymphoid biology and diseases

Hairy cell leukemia is an indolent, chronic B-cell lymphoproliferative disorder comprising approximately 2 to 3% of all adult leukemias in the United States. Hairy cells are clonal expansions of mature, activated B-cells. They co-express CD11c, CD19, CD20, CD22, CD25, and CD103. Hairy cells possess clonal immunoglobulin gene rearrangements and express monoclonal surface immunoglobulin of either IgG or multiple heavy-chain isotypes. Treatment of hairy cell leukemia should be considered for symptomatic patients. It is indicated in patients with significant neutropenia, anemia, thrombocytopenia, symptomatic splenomegaly, constitutional symptoms due to hairy cell leukemia, or recurrent serious infections. Many treatments exist, including cladribine, pentostatin, interferon-alpha, splenectomy, rituximab (mabthera), and BL-22 immunotoxin.

*Division of Hematology/Oncology and †Department of Pathology, Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, California, USA.

Correspondence to Alan Saven, MD, Head Division of Hematology/Oncology, Scripps Clinic and Director, Scripps Cancer Center, 10666 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA; e-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.