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Hairy Cell Leukemia Symptoms and Treatment

Hairy cell leukemia is a rare variant of chronic leukemia.The name of the disease has gone from the appearance of the cells that are specific for this type of leukemia.By origin, these cells - cells in the normal state involved in the immune defense.When leukemia vary as a function of the cells and their shape.The cells cease to participate in the immune response, in the cytoplasm of the outgrowths appear that under the microscope look like a "hairy" or "ragged" edge of the cell.

hairy cell leukemia most often develops gradually in middle and old age, which is why the disease is often not detected and diagnosed in the late stages.The average age of detection of the disease is fifty years old, and seventy percent of cases affects men.

symptoms of hairy cell leukemia

main feature characteristic volosatokletnochnogo leukemia - splenomegaly or slow enlargement of the spleen, which is the reason for the increased destruction of the white blood cells of pathological organ.Symptoms of splenomegaly may be t

he severity of the left half of the abdomen, excessive propensity to infections, anemia, which arise due to the suppression of leukemia cells of normal blood flow in the bone marrow.Associated with reduced immunity and symptoms of anemia are very important, but often ignored and written off at the age of manifestation of the patient.

Other manifestations of hairy cell leukemia - a poor appetite, weight loss, night sweats and fever.These symptoms occur on the background of the general intoxication that appears in the malignancy.Patients with these symptoms are referred to their physical aging, so do not immediately go to the doctor.

Diagnostics hairy cell leukemia

to diagnose the disease in the first place, it is necessary to do a blood test to detect the "hairy cell".In the analysis of the blood also reveals another characteristic feature of hairy cell leukemia, which distinguishes it from other types of leukemia - reduction in the number of blood cells (pancytopenia).

For other leukemias number of blood cells increased.In patients with decreased immunity volosatochletochnym leukemia and anemia connected with pancytopenia.Sometimes to confirm the diagnosis is necessary to conduct puncture of the spleen or bone marrow, and histological analysis of tissue in order to identify "hairy" cells.

Treatment of hairy cell leukemia

In the past, until 1980, was treated for hairy cell leukemia standard method - splenectomy.The effect of this treatment in fifty percent of patients took more than eight months.Now this method is less in demand, it is used as a backup for refractory patients.

to treat hairy cell leukemia is currently used chemotherapy.Sometimes the treatment of anemia to bring to normal blood cell composition is needed splenectomy.

Systemic therapy of hairy cell leukemia is conducted drug interferon-alpha, which greatly improved the condition of patients.For the first time, these drugs were used in 1984 and thanks to its high efficiency, quickly introduced into clinical practice.

revolutionized the treatment of hairy cell leukemia committed purine analogs, in particular, cladribine.In the treatment with cladribine complete remission rate of more than eighty percent.Often after the first year achieved a complete remission that lasts for more than three years.

Cladribine is particularly effective in patients who have previously received interferon-alpha or pentostatin.

Until now, the question remains complete cure hairy cell leukemia, as in patients with clinical remission duration is still detected minimal residual disease.