Hairy cell leukemia - Overview
Leukemic reticuloendotheliosis; HCL; Leukemia - hairy cell
Definition of Hairy cell leukemia:
Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is an unusual cancer of the blood. It affects B cells, a type of white blood cell (lymphocyte).
Causes, incidence, and risk factors:
HCL is caused by the abnormal growth of B cells. The cells look "hairy" under the microscope because they have fine projections coming from their surface.
HCL can lead to low numbers of normal blood cells.
The cause of this disease is unknown. It affects men more often than women. The average age of diagnosis is 55.
- Reviewed last on: 9/6/2010
- David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Kantarjian H, O’Brien S. The chronic leukemias. In Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 195.
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