Hairy cell leukemia

Leukemic reticuloendotheliosis; HCL; Leukemia - hairy cell

Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is an unusual cancer of the blood. It affects B cells, a type of white blood cell (lymphocyte).

Bone marrow aspiration

A small amount of bone marrow is removed during a bone marrow aspiration. The procedure is uncomfortable, but can be tolerated by both children and adults. The marrow can be studied to determine the cause of anemia, the presence of leukemia or other malignancy, or the presence of some "storage diseases" in which abnormal metabolic products are stored in certain bone marrow cells.

Auer rods

Note multiple Auer rods which are found only in acute myeloid leukemias, either myeloblastic or monoblastic. These rods consist of clumps of azurophilic granule material.

Hairy cell leukemia - microscopic view

All the cells in this field are hairy cells. The cell membranes appear irregular and serrated. The cytoplasm stains light blue (black arrows). The nuclei tend to be irregular (red arrows).

Formed elements of blood

Blood transports oxygen and nutrients to body tissues and returns waste and carbon dioxide. Blood distributes nearly everything that is carried from one area in the body to another place within the body. For example, blood transports hormones from endocrine organs to their target organs and tissues. Blood helps maintain body temperature and normal pH levels in body tissues. The protective functions of blood include clot formation and the prevention of infection.

Enlarged spleen

Because of its wide variety of functions, the spleen may be affected by many conditions involving the blood or lymph system, and by infection, malignancies, liver disease, and parasites.



Exams and Tests


Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional