Hairy cell leukemia durability of response to splenectomy in 26 patients and treatment of relapse with androgens in six patients
Indians, North American
Twenty-three of 26 patients with hairy cell leukemia evaluable for response to splenectomy had significant improvement in anemia, thrombocytopenia, and/or neutropenia. Eight of the 23 had a recurrence of cytopenia after a median response duration of 4 to 5 months (range, 1-22). The remaining 15 patients did not have a recurrence of cytopenia at 20 months median follow-up (range, 1-76). Six patients with postsplenectomy cytopenia were given androgenic steroids. Two of the six had an improvement in anemia and thrombocytopenia, and a third patient had an improvement in neutropenia. It was concluded that, although most patients with hairy cell leukemia have initial improvement in cytopenia with splenectomy, a significant number of them either fail to respond or have recurrent cytopenia after initial response to splenectomy. A trial of androgenic steroids is a reasonable therapeutic option in these patients. Alternative therapies are reviewed and recommendations made.