Which clinical history findings are characteristic of hairy cell leukemia (HCL)?

Updated: Sep 16, 2018
  • Author: Emmanuel C Besa, MD; Chief Editor: Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP, FACP  more...
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Answer

The most common symptoms and presenting complaints in hairy cell leukemia are weakness and fatigue due to anemia. Approximately one third of patients have bleeding from thrombocytopenia, and another third have fever and infections from neutropenia. 

Symptoms related to organ infiltration of the reticuloendothelial system may occur. Abdominal discomfort from an enlarged spleen is present in one quarter of patients. 

Some patients may present with weight loss, fever, and night sweats, similar to other lymphoproliferative disorders.

Hairy cell leukemia is associated with gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial infections, as well as atypical mycobacterial and invasive fungal infections. Other opportunistic infections, such as Legionella, toxoplasmosis, and listeriosis, have been reported.


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