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Platelet function in hairy-cell leukaemia
  1. M. Zuzel1,
  2. J. C. Cawley1,
  3. R. C. Paton1,
  4. G. F. Burns2,
  5. G. P. McNicol1
  1. University Department of Medicine, General Infirmary at Leeds, UK
  2. Department of Haematological Medicine, University of Cambridge, UK


    A quantitative study of various aspects of platelet function was carried out in eight patients with typical hairy-cell leukaemia (HCL). In at least two patients platelet aggregation was convincingly reduced to more than one aggregating agent (ADP, adrenaline, collagen, thrombin, and ristocetin). Granular storage capacity for {14C} 5-HT was reduced in five of the six patients tested. The two patients with definitely abnormal aggregation had the greatest reduction in granular storage pool and the longest bleeding times of those tested but, like the other patients, they did not have a clinical haemostatic defect. It was concluded that a granular storage pool defect (SPD) was at least partly responsible for aggregation abnormalities in HCL since the platelet release reaction in response to thrombin appeared to be normal. All our patients ran a chronic course uncomplicated by any of the factors known to predispose to a platelet SPD acquired in the circulation. Although in the one patient tested before and after splenectomy there was some improvement in platelet aggregation after operation, there was no clear general relationship between defective platelet function and either previous splenectomy or platelet count. Since a direct involvement of the megakaryocytic series in the underlying cell proliferation of HCL seems unlikely, it is concluded that the platelet defect can most reasonably be attributed to the production of abnormal platelets as a result of marrow fibrosis and/or infiltration by hairy cells.

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