Addressing the Unmet Needs of Patients with Hairy Cell Leukemia

For patients with hairy cell leukemia, it's complications after treatment that can be life-threatening.

At the 2019 Hairy Cell Leukemia Foundation Annual Conference Kerry Rogers, MD, assistant professor at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, presented findings from an ongoing trial that showed promising results using ibrutinib (Imbruvica) to treat patients with hairy cell leukemia. However, it’s life after treatment that often presents a problem for these patients.

At the conference, OncLive®, a sister publication to Oncology Nursing News®, had the chance to sit down with Rogers, one of the principal investigators on the study, and discuss life-threatening complications patients with hairy cell leukemia can face.


Again, it's important to realize that a lot of people with Hairy Cell Leukemia, are alive without leukemia recurrence, 8 to 10 years later after treatment. For those patients, things are relatively good, but there are other complications of this, that can still happen. So hairy cell leukemia, in many cases, doesn't shorten people's natural lifespans, but the few things that do affect hairy cell leukemia patients greatly are actually infection, which is very high on the list.

So, lots of people when they're diagnosed are also diagnosed at the time with having a severe life-threatening infection or develop infections after treatment. I think looking at therapies for patients with uncontrolled active or opportunistic infections, and better supportive care and management, surrounding it is really important.

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