Hairy cell leukemia. Current management

Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 1990 Apr;4(2):489-502.


The long-term outlook for patients with HCL has brightened over the last 5 years with the development of two highly effective systemic therapies, pentostatin and alpha-interferon. Pentostatin can induce complete responses in over 75 per cent of patients and may offer cure in this disease. Splenectomy continues to have a role as first-line therapy in selected patients in whom it may offer a median remission duration of over 5 years. Alpha-interferon is the treatment of choice for patients requiring initial systemic therapy and can be used intermittently to re-induce remission in patients with disease progression off therapy. Outside of clinical trials pentostatin should be utilized only in appropriately selected patients refractory to interferon therapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon Type I / therapeutic use
  • Leukemia, Hairy Cell / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, Hairy Cell / pathology
  • Leukemia, Hairy Cell / surgery
  • Leukemia, Hairy Cell / therapy*
  • Male
  • Pentostatin / therapeutic use
  • Prognosis
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Remission Induction
  • Splenectomy


  • Interferon Type I
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Pentostatin