Skip to content

    Cancer Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

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

    There are different types of treatment for patients with hairy cell leukemia.

    Different types of treatment are available for patients with hairy cell leukemia. Some treatments are standard (the currently used treatment), and some are being tested in clinical trials. A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment. Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.

    Recommended Related to Leukemia & Lymphoma

    B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia for Adults

    B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a cancer that affects your "B lymphocytes" -- white blood cells that grow in the soft center of your bones, called marrow. B lymphocytes are supposed to grow into cells that help you fight infections. But in this disease, they turn into "leukemia" cells that live longer than normal cells and reproduce quickly. They build up in your bone marrow and move into your bloodstream. From there they can spread to other organs in your body. Although in most cases it...

    Read the B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia for Adults article > >

    Five types of standard treatment are used:

    Watchful waiting

    Watchful waiting is closely monitoring a patient's condition, without giving any treatment until signs or symptoms appear or change.

    Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy). When chemotherapy is placed directly into the cerebrospinal fluid, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy). The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. Cladribine and pentostatin are anticancer drugs commonly used to treat hairy cell leukemia. These drugs may increase the risk of other types of cancer, especially Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Long-term follow up for second cancers is very important.

    Biologic therapy

    Biologic therapy is a cancer treatment that uses the patient's immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct, or restore the body's natural defenses against cancer. This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or immunotherapy. Interferon alfa is a biologic agent commonly used to treat hairy cell leukemia.

    1 | 2 | 3
    1 | 2 | 3
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    man holding lung xray
    What you need to know.
    stem cells
    How they work for blood cancers.
     
    woman wearing pink ribbon
    Separate fact from fiction.
    Colorectal cancer cells
    Symptoms, screening tests, and more.
     
    Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
    Blog
    what is your cancer risk
    HEALTH CHECK
     
    colorectal cancer treatment advances
    Video
    breast cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    prostate cancer overview
    SLIDESHOW
    lung cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    ovarian cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Actor Michael Douglas
    Article