Outcome of hairy cell leukemia patients treated with cladribine – A 10-year single-center experience in Pakistan

Document Type



Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


Introduction and objective: Hairy cell leukemia is an uncommon, indolent B-cell lymphoproliferative disorder. Therapy with cladribine (2-chlorodeoxyadenosine) is able to induce complete remission (CR) in the majority of patients after a single course of treatment. We report the outcomes of patients treated at Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan.
Methods: This was a retrospective review. Medical records of patients were used to collect data.
Results: A total of 21 patients with hairy cell leukemia were treated with cladribine. All patients achieved an initial CR. Four patients (19%) required hospitalization and therapy for neutropenic fever. Six patients (29%) relapsed at a median of 48 months. All 6 patients were treated for relapse, out of which 4 achieved CR, 1 had partial response and 1 had refractory disease. The overall survival rate was 90.5%, with a median follow-up of 35 months.
Conclusion: A single course of cladribine is able to induce CR in a vast majority of patients. Unfortunately, relapse is not uncommon. Patients who relapse can be successfully retreated with cladribine. Cladribine has impressive efficacy and a favorable acute and long-term toxicity profile when administered to patients with HCL.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Hematology, Transfusion and Cell Therapy