Learn About Hairy Cell Leukemia

What is the definition of Hairy Cell Leukemia?

Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is an unusual cancer of the blood. It affects B cells, a type of white blood cell (lymphocyte).

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What are the alternative names for Hairy Cell Leukemia?

Leukemic reticuloendotheliosis; HCL; Leukemia - hairy cell

What are the causes of Hairy Cell Leukemia?

HCL is caused by the abnormal growth of B cells. The cells look "hairy" under the microscope because they have fine projections extending from their surface.

HCL usually leads to a low number of normal blood cells.

The cause of this disease is unknown. Certain genetic changes (mutations) in the cancer cells may be the cause. It affects men more often than women. The average age of diagnosis is 55.

What are the symptoms of Hairy Cell Leukemia?

Symptoms of HCL may include any of the following:

  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Heavy sweating (especially at night)
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Feeling full after eating only a small amount
  • Recurrent infections and fevers
  • Pain or fullness in the upper left belly (enlarged spleen)
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Weight loss
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What are the current treatments for Hairy Cell Leukemia?

Treatment may not be needed for the early stages of this disease. Some people may need an occasional blood transfusion.

If treatment is needed because of very low blood counts, chemotherapy drugs can be used.

In most cases, chemotherapy can relieve the symptoms for many years. When the signs and symptoms go away, you are said to be in remission.

Removing the spleen may improve blood counts, but is unlikely to cure the disease. Antibiotics can be used to treat infections. People with low blood counts may receive growth factors and, possibly, transfusions.

Who are the top Hairy Cell Leukemia Local Doctors?
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Hematology Oncology

Community Hematology-Oncology Practitioners

Olney, MD 

Robert Kreitman is a Hematologist Oncology doctor in Olney, Maryland. Dr. Kreitman is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Hairy Cell Leukemia. He is also highly rated in 8 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Hairy Cell Leukemia, Reticuloendotheliosis, Leukemia, and Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome. He is licensed to treat patients in Maryland.

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Hematology Oncology

The James Cancer Hospital And Solove Research Institute

Columbus, OH 

Michael Grever is a Hematologist and a Hematologist Oncology doctor in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Grever has been practicing medicine for over 51 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Hairy Cell Leukemia. He is also highly rated in 12 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Hairy Cell Leukemia, Reticuloendotheliosis, Leukemia, and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. He is board certified in Hematology and Internal Medicine and licensed to treat patients in Ohio. Dr. Grever is currently accepting new patients.

 
 
 
 
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Elite
Highly rated in
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University Of Perugia

Perugia, IT 

Enrico Tiacci is in Perugia, Italy. Tiacci is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Hairy Cell Leukemia. He is also highly rated in 13 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Hairy Cell Leukemia, Reticuloendotheliosis, Leukemia, and Splenic Neoplasm.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Hairy Cell Leukemia?

Most people with HCL can expect to live 10 years or longer after diagnosis and treatment.

What are the possible complications of Hairy Cell Leukemia?

The low blood counts caused by hairy cell leukemia can lead to:

  • Infections
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive bleeding
When should I contact a medical professional for Hairy Cell Leukemia?

Call your provider if you have major bleeding. Also call if you have signs of infection, such as a persistent fever, cough, or general ill feeling.

How do I prevent Hairy Cell Leukemia?

There is no known way to prevent this disease.

Bone marrow aspiration
Hairy cell leukemia - microscopic view
Enlarged spleen
What are the latest Hairy Cell Leukemia Clinical Trials?
A Phase II, Open-label, Study in Subjects With BRAF V600E-Mutated Rare Cancers With Several Histologies to Investigate the Clinical Efficacy and Safety of the Combination Therapy of Dabrafenib and Trametinib
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Prospective, Multi-center Phase I/II Trial of Lenalidomide and Dose-Adjusted EPOCH-R in MYC-Associated B-Cell Lymphomas
What are the Latest Advances for Hairy Cell Leukemia?
Vemurafenib plus Rituximab in Refractory or Relapsed Hairy-Cell Leukemia.
Moxetumomab pasudotox in heavily pre-treated patients with relapsed/refractory hairy cell leukemia (HCL): long-term follow-up from the pivotal trial.
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Long-term follow-up after rituximab plus bendamustine in a patient with relapsed or refractory hairy cell leukemia variant: A case report.
What are our references for Hairy Cell Leukemia?

National Cancer Institute website. Hairy cell leukemia treatment (PDQ) health professional version. www.cancer.gov/types/leukemia/hp/hairy-cell-treatment-pdq. Updated March 23, 2018. Accessed July 24, 2020.

Ravandi F. Hairy cell leukemia. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Silberstein LE, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 78.