Clinical Presentation

Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is a rare chronic lympho-proliferative disorder, characterized by circulating B lymphocytes displaying prominent cytoplasmic projections and infiltrating the bone marrow and the spleen. The disease was first described as a distinct clin-icopathologic entity in 1958 by Bourouncle et al., who referred to the disorder as "leukemic reticuloendothe-liosis".1 The descriptive term "hairy cell leukemia" was suggested by Schrek and Donnely in 1966.2

The typical patient is a Caucasian middle-aged man, presenting with splenomegaly, pancytopenia, and occasionally recurrent infections. Circulating hairy cells are usually present in the peripheral blood.3

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