Hairy cell leukemia is an uncommon, low-grade lymphoproliferative disorder. Although the mere documentation of the presence of this leukemia is not itself an indication for therapy, the majority of patients will eventually require treatment for their disease. Although, historically, the initial treatment approach has evolved from splenectomy to interferon-a, contemporary treatment options include either a single-week-long course of 2-CdA, traditionally delivered by continuous intravenous infusion, or 4-6 months of DCF, given as a short infusion every other week. Although there have been no randomized trials comparing these two approaches, both therapies result in prolonged, unmaintained remissions in the vast majority of patients. In addition, both therapies are associated with profound and prolonged immunosuppression, although the subsequent infectious complication rates are low.
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