Successful treatment of hairy cell leukemia variant with rituximab

Leuk Lymphoma. 2005 Aug;46(8):1229-32. doi: 10.1080/10428190500083433.


Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) variant is a rare low-grade B-cell disorder affecting the elderly or middle-aged population with features intermediate between those of HCL and prolymphocytic leukemia. Unlike HCL, it is resistant to most conventional treatment. We report a case of a 53-year-old man who had refractory thrombocytopenia and lymphocytosis for 8 years. Investigations and analysis of spleen and bone marrow revealed a diagnosis of HCL variant. He opted for treatment with rituximab, a chimeric monoclonal antibody targeting CD 20. There was complete recovery of his full blood count and a bone marrow biopsy performed 3 months post-treatment showed complete remission. This is, to our knowledge, the first reported patient with HCL variant for whom treatment with rituximab was successful, and this treatment needs further investigation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Count
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Hairy Cell / diagnosis
  • Leukemia, Hairy Cell / drug therapy*
  • Leukemia, Hairy Cell / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Remission Induction / methods
  • Rituximab
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Rituximab