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Hum Pathol. 2004 Nov;35(11):1423-6.

Transformation of hairy cell leukemia to high-grade lymphoma: a case report and review of the literature.

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  • 1Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Denver, CO 80220, USA.


The coexistence of hairy cell leukemia (HCL) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is extremely rare. In the few reports demonstrating such coexistence, the relationship between the 2 entities was mostly inconclusive. We report a case of HCL that transformed to large cell lymphoma. This case has been followed for more than 4 years with immunohistochemical, flow cytometric, and molecular genetic studies on multiple bone marrow biopsy specimens, a splenectomy specimen, and a lymph node biopsy. In our case, the immunophenotype and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase stain confirmed that the large cell lymphoma was of HCL origin. The markedly increased Ki-67 staining (proliferation fraction) in the lymph node biopsy specimen compared to the earlier splenectomy specimen indicated the transformation of a low-grade leukemia to a high-grade lymphoma. The overexpression of p53 in the lymph node implies that p53 mutation was probably involved in the pathogenesis of HCL transformation.

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