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Cancer Health Center

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Hairy Cell Leukemia Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Treatment Option Overview


The hairy cell leukemia variant has a distinctive phenotype and typically presents with leukocytosis instead of leukopenia.[17] Patients with this variant have poorer responses to initial cladribine, shorter durations of response, and typically do not respond again to purine analogues after relapse. Combinations of rituximab and purine analogues are under evaluation and further studies are required to define optimal therapies.[18,19]


  1. Gidron A, Tallman MS: 2-CdA in the treatment of hairy cell leukemia: a review of long-term follow-up. Leuk Lymphoma 47 (11): 2301-7, 2006.
  2. Grever MR, Lozanski G: Modern strategies for hairy cell leukemia. J Clin Oncol 29 (5): 583-90, 2011.
  3. Hoffman MA, Janson D, Rose E, et al.: Treatment of hairy-cell leukemia with cladribine: response, toxicity, and long-term follow-up. J Clin Oncol 15 (3): 1138-42, 1997.
  4. Cheson BD, Sorensen JM, Vena DA, et al.: Treatment of hairy cell leukemia with 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine via the Group C protocol mechanism of the National Cancer Institute: a report of 979 patients. J Clin Oncol 16 (9): 3007-15, 1998.
  5. Goodman GR, Burian C, Koziol JA, et al.: Extended follow-up of patients with hairy cell leukemia after treatment with cladribine. J Clin Oncol 21 (5): 891-6, 2003.
  6. Jehn U, Bartl R, Dietzfelbinger H, et al.: An update: 12-year follow-up of patients with hairy cell leukemia following treatment with 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine. Leukemia 18 (9): 1476-81, 2004.
  7. Fayad L, Kurzrock R, Keating M, et al.: Treatment of hairy-cell leukemia (HCL) with 2-CdA: long term follow-up at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. [Abstract] Blood 90 (suppl 1): A-2363, 1997.
  8. Ribeiro P, Bouaffia F, Peaud PY, et al.: Long term outcome of patients with hairy cell leukemia treated with pentostatin. Cancer 85 (1): 65-71, 1999.
  9. Grever M, Kopecky K, Foucar MK, et al.: Randomized comparison of pentostatin versus interferon alfa-2a in previously untreated patients with hairy cell leukemia: an intergroup study. J Clin Oncol 13 (4): 974-82, 1995.
  10. Flinn IW, Kopecky KJ, Foucar MK, et al.: Long-term follow-up of remission duration, mortality, and second malignancies in hairy cell leukemia patients treated with pentostatin. Blood 96 (9): 2981-6, 2000.
  11. Chadha P, Rademaker AW, Mendiratta P, et al.: Treatment of hairy cell leukemia with 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine (2-CdA): long-term follow-up of the Northwestern University experience. Blood 106 (1): 241-6, 2005.
  12. Au WY, Klasa RJ, Gallagher R, et al.: Second malignancies in patients with hairy cell leukemia in british columbia: a 20-year experience. Blood 92 (4): 1160-4, 1998.
  13. Hisada M, Chen BE, Jaffe ES, et al.: Second cancer incidence and cause-specific mortality among 3104 patients with hairy cell leukemia: a population-based study. J Natl Cancer Inst 99 (3): 215-22, 2007.
  14. Kurzrock R, Strom SS, Estey E, et al.: Second cancer risk in hairy cell leukemia: analysis of 350 patients. J Clin Oncol 15 (5): 1803-10, 1997.
  15. Golomb HM, Vardiman JW: Response to splenectomy in 65 patients with hairy cell leukemia: an evaluation of spleen weight and bone marrow involvement. Blood 61 (2): 349-52, 1983.
  16. Capnist G, Federico M, Chisesi T, et al.: Long term results of interferon treatment in hairy cell leukemia. Italian Cooperative Group of Hairy Cell Leukemia (ICGHCL). Leuk Lymphoma 14 (5-6): 457-64, 1994.
  17. Matutes E, Wotherspoon A, Catovsky D: The variant form of hairy-cell leukaemia. Best Pract Res Clin Haematol 16 (1): 41-56, 2003.
  18. Else M, Osuji N, Forconi F, et al.: The role of rituximab in combination with pentostatin or cladribine for the treatment of recurrent/refractory hairy cell leukemia. Cancer 110 (10): 2240-7, 2007.
  19. Arons E, Suntum T, Stetler-Stevenson M, et al.: VH4-34+ hairy cell leukemia, a new variant with poor prognosis despite standard therapy. Blood 114 (21): 4687-95, 2009.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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