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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Leukopenic chronic T cell leukemia mimicking hairy cell leukemia: association with human retroviruses.

We report two cases of a T cell lymphoproliferative disease not previously described, with cytologic and clinical features similar to those associated with Galton's "prolymphocytic" leukemia (PL). Our patients, like those with Galton's PL, had massive splenomegaly and minimal or absent hepatomegaly and lymphadenopathy. In contrast, however, our patients had leukopenia, as well as low percentages of leukemic cells in the peripheral blood and in the bone marrow. In splenic imprints, the nuclear chromatin pattern of most of the leukemic cells was intermediate between those of mature lymphocytes and those of lymphoblasts, and the nuclei contained single, centrally located, conspicuous nucleoli. In sections of the spleen, the leukemic cells diffusely infiltrated the red pulp in a pattern strikingly similar to that of hairy cell leukemia; however, when the leukemic cells were studied cytochemically, the cytoplasmic acid phosphatase positivity was punctate and tartrate-sensitive. The leukemic cells were sheep erythrocyte rosette-positive and expressed T cell-associated antigens. Initially, both patients responded well to therapeutic splenectomy. One patient received combination chemotherapy after splenectomy and is alive and well 24 months after diagnosis. The other patient was in complete clinical remission for one year after splenectomy and received chemotherapy at relapse. He died, however, 23 months after splenectomy, with disseminated disease. IgG antibody titers against human T lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) were detected in one patient and against HTLV-II in the other. The leukemia in these patients represents a distinct clinicopathologic entity within the spectrum of peripheral T cell lymphoproliferative diseases that includes Galton's PL of T cell derivation, T cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia, T cell hairy cell leukemia, and adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma.[1]


  1. Leukopenic chronic T cell leukemia mimicking hairy cell leukemia: association with human retroviruses. Sohn, C.C., Blayney, D.W., Misset, J.L., Mathé, G., Flandrin, G., Moran, E.M., Jensen, F.C., Winberg, C.D., Rappaport, H. Blood (1986) [Pubmed]
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