Answer:  Both Hairy Cell Leukemia and multiple sclerosis are rare diseases. There have been very few cases reported of patients with both diseases. One patient was reported to have been diagnosed with HCL after many years of relapsing MS. This case report did not contain very many details, and therefore it makes it very difficult to provide you with a general statement. While one of the treatments for HCL (Cladribine) is an immuno-suppressive drug, it has been independently explored for treating patients with MS. However, the reason for using Cladribine was related to its ability to suppress the immune system and not related to a link between these two rare diseases. The immuno-suppression caused by Cladribine can also cause problems and therefore the use of this drug to treat the two diseases is hard to evaluate since there are so few patients with both problems.

Concerning the increased size of your liver, you should discuss this with your physician. HCL can involve the liver, as it frequently involves the bone marrow and spleen. Some patients have extensive involvement of HCL in the liver. If the leukemia involves the liver, it can be treated. It would be important to discuss your symptoms and concerns with your hematologist.  It is routine to evaluate a patient’s bone marrow in making a diagnosis of HCL. While it is understandable that you are “scared” about this procedure, it would be important to explain this to your physician. We hope that discussing your questions with your physician will provide you with some answers as well.

Posted May 2013 in the category: HCL & Other Disorders