Soluble interleukin-2 receptor in hairy-cell leukemia: a reliable marker of disease

Int J Clin Lab Res. 1993;23(1):34-7. doi: 10.1007/BF02592278.


The CD25 molecule, which corresponds to the p55 alpha chain of the interleukin-2 receptor, is strongly expressed by neoplastic cells in hairy-cell leukemia and is released in large amounts in the soluble form which is detectable in serum. In order to assess the reliability of the soluble interleukin-2 receptor as a disease marker in the management of patients with hairy-cell leukemia, we investigated serum levels in 35 untreated patients and in 2 patients with the hairy-cell leukemia variant. In 21 of 35 patients soluble receptor levels were also monitored during and after recombinant interferon-alpha therapy. Clinical and hematological parameters were also assessed. Soluble interleukin-2 receptor levels were extremely high at the time of diagnosis in patients with typical hairy-cell leukemia [32,722 +/- 27,001 vs. 331 +/- 145 units/ml in controls (mean +/- SD)], but not in patients with the leukemia variant. A progressive decrease in soluble interleukin-2 receptor levels paralleled the clinical response to treatment, although normal values were never detected, even in patients who achieved an apparent complete remission. After recombinant interferon-alpha discontinuation, disease recurrence was accompanied by a progressive increase to pre-treatment soluble receptor levels. Overall, a close correlation was found between soluble interleukin-2 receptor values and total tumor burden (r = 0.84, P < 0.001). On the basis of these data, soluble interleukin-2 receptor should be regarded as a key marker in the management of patients with hairy-cell leukemia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interferon Type I / therapeutic use
  • Leukemia, Hairy Cell / blood*
  • Leukemia, Hairy Cell / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / analysis*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Solubility


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Interferon Type I
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Recombinant Proteins