Wednesday, 15 September 2010

MRCP revision battle 12.3: Hairy Cell Leukaemia

Hairy cell leukaemia is a subtype of CLL characterised by (suprise, suprise) cells that appear 'hairy' on microscopy.

Hairy cell leukaemia is 4 times more common in men than women.

Features of hairy cell leukaemia include:
  • pancytopenia
  • splenomegaly
  • skin vasculitis in 1/3 cases
  • 'dry tap' 

A key phrase to look out for in MRCP is 'tartrate resistant acid phosphatase positive'

Treatment of hairy cell leukaemia is chemotherapy.  Second line options include alpha interferon and rituximub.

Thats quite enough haematology for one day... lets move on for a 'rippingly' good time with aortic dissection...