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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2000 Nov;124(11):1710-3.

Atypical hairy cell leukemia.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL, USA.


The morphologic differential diagnosis of mature B-cell neoplasms with cytoplasmic projections includes splenic lymphoma with villous lymphocytes and hairy cell leukemia. Although the classification of hairy cell leukemia is not universally recognized, 3 variants have been described, namely, classic, variant, and Japanese variant, each of which has different clinical and immunophenotypic features. Classic hairy cell leukemia is virtually always CD11c(+), CD25(+), and CD103(+). Variant and Japanese variant hairy cell leukemias are usually CD11c(+), always CD25(-), and occasionally CD103(+). Each variant is characteristically CD10(-). We present a case of hairy cell leukemia with a unique immunoprofile in that the cells were CD10(+), CD25(+), and CD103(-), and we review the criteria helpful in differentiating "hairy" B-cell neoplasms. This case emphasizes the variability of hairy cell leukemia and the need to correlate all clinical and pathologic data in reaching a diagnosis.

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