Patients with Hairy Cell Leukemia Have an Increased Risk of Second Cancers

Patients with Hairy Cell Leukemia Have an Increased Risk of Second Cancers

According to an article recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, patients with hairy cell leukemia are at an increased risk of developing a second cancer later in their lives.

Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is a rare type of leukemia, or cancer of the immune cells. Hairy cell leukemia tends to be a slow-growing type of leukemia, and treatment, which typically consists of chemotherapy, results in remissions at five years in approximately 75% of patients.

Researchers affiliated with the National Institutes of Health recently conducted a study to evaluate the risk among patients diagnosed with HCL for developing a second cancer. This study included over 3,100 patients diagnosed with HCL who were followed for 6.5 years.

  • Patients had a 24% increased risk of developing a second cancer compared to the general population.
  • Patients had a six-fold increased risk of Hodgkins lymphoma, a five-fold increased risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and nearly a 3.6-fold increased risk of thyroid cancer compared with the general population.
  • Patients had a 32% risk of developing a second cancer at 25 years following the diagnosis of HCL.
  • The risk of lung cancer, however, was reduced among patients diagnosed with HCL.

The researchers concluded that patients diagnosed with HCL have a significantly increased risk of developing a second cancer within their lifetime. Patients diagnosed with HCL may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks of specific types of second cancers as well as possible screening and monitoring schedules for the early diagnosis and treatment of second cancers.

Reference: Hisada M, Chen B, Jaffe E, Travis L. Second cancer incidence and cause-specific mortality among 3,104 patients with hairy cell leukemia: a population-based study. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2007; 99: 215-222.

Related News:Vaccine Highly Effective in Hairy Cell Leukemia (9/19/2005)

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