Common symptoms of HCL includes persistently feeling tired, weakness, weight loss for no reason, shortness of breath, excessive sweating (most often at night), swollen lymph nodes, frequent infections and fevers, small red spots on the skin. The main treatment for hairy cell leukemia is chemotherapy, purine analog drugs either cladribine (2-CdA) or pentostatin, monoclonal antibody rituximab, surgery or interferon alpha.
More than 95% of new patients are treated well or at least adequately by cladribine or pentostatin. A majority of new patients can expect a disease-free remission time span of about ten years, or sometimes much longer after taking one of these drugs just once. Overall statistics of last 3 years shows that survival rate is 75-80 %. Approximately, 30%-40% of the patients relapse, and moreover, some of these are difficult-to-treat refractory cases.