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It may result in somewhat more mild bruises than would otherwise be expected for a given platelet count or a mildly increased bleeding time for a minor cut.
It is likely the result of producing slightly abnormal platelets in the overstressed bone marrow tissue.
The expression of genes is also dysregulated in a complex and specific pattern.
The cells under express 3p24, 3p21, 3q13.3-q22, 4p16, 11q23, 14q22-q24, 15q21-q22, 15q24-q25, and 17q22-q24 and overexpress 13q31 and Xq13.3-q21.
The disease was formally named leukemic reticuloendotheliosis and its characterization significantly advanced by Bertha Bouroncle and colleagues at The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1958.
Its common name, which was coined in 1966, In hairy cell leukemia, the "hairy cells" (malignant B lymphocytes) accumulate in the bone marrow, interfering with the production of normal white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
Most patients require a bone marrow biopsy for final diagnosis.
The bone marrow biopsy is used both to confirm the presence of HCL and also the absence of any additional diseases, such as Splenic marginal zone lymphoma or B-cell prolymphocytic leukemia.
A low level of T cells, which is commonly seen after treatment with cladribine or pentostatin, and the consequent reduction of these cytokines, is also associated with reduced levels of hairy cells.
Consequently, patients may develop infections related to low white blood cell count, anemia and fatigue due to a lack of red blood cells, or easy bleeding due to a low platelet count.
Leukemic cells may gather in the spleen and cause it to swell; this can have the side effect of making the person feel full even when he or she has not eaten much.
Bone marrow failure is caused by the accumulation of hairy cells and reticulin fibrosis in the bone marrow, as well as by the detrimental effects of dysregulated cytokine production.
The level increases as hairy cells proliferate, and decreases when they are killed.